Dustin Poirier faced a crushing defeat at UFC 291, succumbing to Justin Gaethje’s vicious head kick that sent him crashing to the canvas in the second round of their “BMF” title fight at the Delta Center. Despite the significant setback in his pursuit of the UFC lightweight championship, Poirier showed tremendous resilience and refused to dwell on his loss.
“Losing sucks,” Poirier admitted during the UFC 291 post-fight press conference, where he addressed reporters, including MMA Junkie. “But I’ve lost before. It’s not cool to be acquainted with these feelings, but I’ve been here before. But the career I’ve had and the fights I’ve had, where I’ve come from, I feel like I’ve already won. I’m just taking it minute by minute right now. If I win like a man, I’ve got to be able to lose like a man.”
Poirier’s journey in the MMA world has been marked by triumphs and defeats, but he embraces his path and remains grateful for his achievements. Despite the heartbreak of the moment, he reminds himself of his victories outside the octagon, acknowledging that he has already triumphed in life.
“It’s heartbreaking,” he said, reflecting on the loss. “But I keep coming back like Pookie. It keeps calling me. I can’t stop. I might need another hit. I don’t know. I’m just taking it one day at a time, one minute at a time right now. But I’m happy right now. My life is good, my family is good, my daughter is excited for me to get home. We’re not at a funeral here. I’ve won. I’ve won life. I already won. Where I come from, I’ve already won.”
Fighting through the First Round
Before the fatal head kick, Poirier performed well in the opening round of the fight, showing glimpses of his exceptional skills in the cage. However, Gaethje’s unexpected kick caught him off guard, leading to the stunning knockout that left Poirier searching for answers.
“I just got hit with a shot I didn’t see,” he explained. “Naturally just instincts I got one hand up, but the foot still got around… I still can compete. I have tread on the tires. I feel great. I did a nine-week camp and pushed myself. Easiest cut of my life. I busted my ass, that’s why losing sucks. I did all this work, but nothing is guaranteed.”
The Uncertain Road Ahead
As for his future in the octagon, Poirier remains uncertain. While he was intrigued by the idea of a trilogy fight with Gaethje, the current path is unclear, with Gaethje possibly heading towards a lightweight title shot against the winner of October’s UFC 294 championship bout between Islam Makhachev and Charles Oliveira.
“Before this one when they offered me Beneil (Dariush), I was just like, ‘Ah, I’m not that excited about it,'” Poirier shared. “But when this one came it got me scared and nervous because of what just happened could happen. That’s what kept me waking up in the morning to bust my ass. I knew not only the excitement of the fight, the danger of the fight – a win would get me – we’re No. 2 and No. 3. No. 1 already beat us, and he’s fighting for the title again. How much higher on the ladder could I go? A win over him would be a lock to get the title shot, I thought. We’ll see.”
As Dustin Poirier continues his MMA journey, the resilience and determination he displayed at UFC 291 will undoubtedly carry him forward, even in the face of adversity.