The UFC’s former interim lightweight champion, Dustin “The Diamond” Poirier, just sat down for an exclusive interview with Bloody Elbow and ‘The Diamond’ touched on a number of subjects, both typical and controversial.
In this part of the interview, we cover how Islam Makhachev winning the UFC’s lightweight title from Charles Oliveira opened things up for a lot of fighters. Poirier then gives his prediction for the upcoming UFC 284 tilt in February between Makhachev and the UFC’s featherweight champ, Alexander Volkanovski. We also ask Dustin whether or not he has ever considered a matchup with Volkanovski, and then we finish up with “The Diamond” weighing in on a potential collision between Michael Chandler and Conor McGregor.
Eddie Mercado: So the current state of the UFC’s lightweight division, Islam Makhachev defeated Charles Oliveira to become the new champion. Do you feel like Makhachev winning the belt put you that much closer to a title shot?
Dustin Poirier: And that’s another one I would have bet on. I would have lost. That was the same night. I would have lost that one, too. It’s new blood as the champion. It creates all new matchups for everybody who previously fought Charles for the belt. So it does open things up for sure.
EM: How would you prepare differently for Islam Makhachev than the way you for Khabib Nurmagomedov?
DP: It would probably, honestly, be a similar training camp. A lot of wrestling, a lot of Jiu-Jitsu. It would be similar.
EM: I asked you out in Abu-Dhabi before your Khabib fight if the opportunity presented itself would you be willing to jump a guillotine against Nurmagomedov — and you responded with, ‘you got to risk it for the biscuit.’ Sure enough you jumped the guillotine and came closer than anyone else to defeating Khabib. If the same situation happened against Islam, would you still be willing to jump the guillotine?
DP: Of course I would. Of course I would. I definitely would.
EM: Before that’s a possibility, Makhachev will have to get through the Alexander Volkanovski, the UFC’s featherweight champion. Is Islam leaving Perth with the belt?
DP: I think Islam is going to win, but I don’t know. I think Islam is going to be a to bigger than Volkanovski, more rangier. Since Volkanovski’s closer to the ground, shorter and has a lower base, it might be tough for Islam to get in deep on normal shots, but maybe he can trip him up or put him against the fence.
I know Volkanovski used to get heavy. You know years ago he used to walk around heavier, but fighting at 45 for as long as he has, and then coming up and fighting Islam, who’s not a small guy at 155-pounds. There’s going to be a little bit of difference for sure. It’ll come down to the striking. I don’t think these guys are going to spend a whole lot of time on the mat, unless Islam can get him down and stay on top of him. And I think that’s going to be hard for him to do against Volk.
EM: Is a fight with Alexander Volkanovski something that has ever tickled your fancy?
DP: I’ve never really thought about it. I never sat back and thought about it, and before this fight was announced [Makhachev vs. Volkanovski], it never really was a possibility.
EM: Michael Chandler is now calling for a match with Conor McGregor, and it could possibly happen. They both need wins, both coming off of losses, both exciting fighters. Who would you favor in that matchup?
DP: I would favor Conor.
EM: Yea? You think he would get the knockout?
DP: I think Chandler is very hittable, Conor’s timing. We’ll see with the layoff, too. Might be a big factor for Conor. But yeah, I would pick Conor still in this one. Chandler’s hittable. Conor’s longer than him. Chandler slows down. You know if he does wrestle heavy to avoid the striking of Conor, he’s going to slow down a bit and will be more in front of Conor, and able to get touched. I would put money on Conor if the fight happens. NOT THAT I CAN! I CAN’T BET. I CAN’T BET MMA!
EM: Haha right! Correct, correct! (waves arms back and forth to stop the fight) Got to put that caveat out there.
About the author: Eddie Mercado has covered combat sports since 2015. He covers everything from betting odds to live events and fighter interviews. He holds a 1-0 record in pro MMA and holds a purple belt in Jiu-Jitsu. (full bio)