When you fight like that, each win is satisfying and each loss is crushing because you know the price you paid in the Octagon and in the gym getting to fight night. Poirier has talked of realizing in recent years that there’s more to life than what happens in his day job, but there has been no lack of intensity in his road to the title, one that saw him face a Murderers Row of champions and top contenders over a six-fight stretch that produced five wins, one no contest, and five post-fight bonuses.
“I go out there and I try to finish these guys,” Poirier said. “I try to damage these guys, I fight violently, I don’t try to squeak out decisions. I show up with a never say die attitude, I walk in on that canvas and I leave it all out there. I’m not scared of the outcome. I show up willing to leave on my shield. I always fought like that, even as an amateur. I’ll put these guys away or it’s a Fight of the Night type of fight. As long as my heart’s beating and I’m conscious, I’m in the fight at all times.”
Poirier has brought that attitude and his belt to Abu Dhabi, where he will meet up with a fellow champion in Nurmagomedov who will enter the Octagon this weekend with a 27-0 record. Any way you slice it, that’s a remarkable slate, and when you add in the punishing style of the Dagestan native, it’s no surprise that “The Eagle” is the favorite.
Oddsmakers never won a fight, though, and Poirier has no doubt that he will leave the UAE with the victory.