UFC lightweight Dustin Poirier always looked like someone who was close to breaking into world championship contention but hadn’t quite made that final step to push him into the title conversation.
Well, I think we can put that notion to bed now.
Poirier defeated former UFC lightweight champ Anthony ‘Showtime’ Pettis in the main event of UFC Fight Night in Norfolk, Virginia in a bloody battle that delivered some of the most thrilling action seen in the UFC in 2017.
Eventually, a rib injury to Pettis forced him out of the contest mid-way through the third round, but Poirier was well on top at that point and looked every bit a legitimate title contender. After a performance like that, a number-one contender fight is an absolute must for his next outing.
His fighting style means he’s a fun matchup for anyone you care to mention at 155lbs. A rematch with Eddie Alvarez would produce a barnburner, as would a clash with Edson Barboza or interim champ Tony Ferguson. He’d have no qualms in throwing down with noted grapplers Khabib Nurmagomedov and Kevin Lee, too. And you know he’d love the chance to avenge his featherweight loss to Conor McGregor by taking him on in a lightweight title fight.
But, after his win on Saturday night, Poirier was smart. Rather than trotting out the oft-heard “I’ll fight anyone the UFC puts in front of me” line, he first shouted his demands through the cage to UFC matchmaker Sean Shelby, then called his shot during his post-fight interview with Jon Anik.
Nicely done, Dustin.
‘The Situ-Asian’ doubles up
Over in the Philippines, Australian-Vietnamese ONE featherweight champion Martin ‘The Situ-Asian’ Nguyen dramatically, spectacularly, knocked out ONE lightweight champion Eduard Folayang in Manila to become the first two-weight world champ in ONE history.
I’ve been covering MMA for eight years from here in the UK, and the outlets I’ve worked for have tended to be very UFC-focused. So it’s been huge fun to ‘go back to school’ and learn about new faces, names and careers as I’ve started watching and writing about the big stars of MMA on the other side of the world for a completely different market.
One of the biggest things I appreciate is the way ONE push the martial arts aspect of the sport and the stories of the athletes who compete in the ONE cage. In my new role as their freelance News Editor it’s a real privilege to be a small part of what they are doing and I hope one day to be able to go over and experience a show or two live and in person.
You can’t keep a good man down
Just when you thought the door was closing on Michael Bisping’s UFC career, the Brit turns around and jumps straight back into action in Shanghai, just three weeks after losing his UFC middleweight title to Georges St-Pierre at UFC 217.
Following news of Anderson Silva’s failed USADA drug test, the Brazilian has been removed from his main event bout with Kelvin Gastelum. But Bisping has now agreed to step into the main event spot and face rising contender Gastelum in what on paper looks like an entertaining matchup.
“I feel like I can go again right now”.. Gracious in defeat and exctly 7 days later @bisping takes the next @ufc main event fight against Gastelum. Love his f*cking attitude. Blood, sweat, respect. https://t.co/NvREXeTvCK
— Dwayne Johnson (@TheRock) November 12, 2017
Fans worrying that the Brit’s final fight will take place on the other side of the world, rather than back on home soil in the UK can rest easy, however.
I contacted Mike as the news was breaking and he told me that, despite his short-notice fight in Shanghai, he still wants to finish his career in the UK at UFC Fight Night 127 in London on March 17 next year.
We all saw the footage from Dublin as Conor McGregor caused havoc inside the Bellator cage on Friday night.
The incident put referee Marc Goddard, totally unfairly, in my eyes, in the spotlight and in the crosshairs of some of the less fair-minded members of McGregor’s fanbase.
I tweeted my thoughts on Marc earlier this weekend and just thought I’d finish off this blog by leaving them here.