For years Lafayette, Louisiana’s Dustin “The Diamond” Poirier has always been that guy who is right there at the top but can’t quite break through. He’s always had the moniker of “the guy who did it the hard way.” In modern day fighting there are two ways to make it to the top. You can take the shortcut way by talking a lot of having a large social media presence that will catapult you to the top of the heap, or you can quietly fight and beat everybody until you are undeniably at the top. Poirier did it that way. And now, despite the fact that many people already consider him the best lightweight fighter in the world, he has a chance to actually become the lightweight champion and put any of that question to doubt.
The Gamble Paid Off
After opting to fight MMA’s biggest superstar in Conor McGregor twice in the same year, Poirier will now shift his focus onto becoming a champion. Some criticized him for taking the money fights in McGregor instead of taking the “glory” or “legacy” fights that could have won him the championship. Poirier took a gamble that paid off, big time, because now he got the money fights and the championship fight. It’s a gamble that even UFC President Dana White has backed him up on time and time again, saying that Poirier did exactly what he should’ve done.
The Disputed Undisputed Champion
Flashback to January, 2021 when Poirier became the first person to KO McGregor, talks of a rematch began immediately. So in May, 2021 when the UFC finally realized that Khabib Nurmagomedov wasn’t coming back, a fight had to be made for the vacant lightweight belt. With Poirier tied up in an upcoming McGregor rematch in July, the fight for the vacant lightweight belt would be announced between the division’s boogeyman Charles Oliveira and UFC new-comer Michael Chandler. Fans criticized the fight saying that Chandler didn’t deserve to be there after just one UFC fight and that it should truly be Poirier in that fight. Fans claimed that no matter who won, they would view Poirier as the true champion no matter what because he was just choosing not to be there at the time.
Despite whatever the fans believed of the fight, Oliveira would finish Chandler in the second round to become the new undisputed (although somewhat disputed) lightweight champion in what was one of the most back and forth fights in UFC championship history.
Settling The Dispute
So now the actual champion who some don’t take seriously gets to take on the man who is the uncrowned champion to settle the dispute of who is truly the best lightweight on the planet. This is the kind of fight that doesn’t have the hype of trash talk behind it, it has the hype behind it because it is truly the best facing the best and we’re going to find out who comes out on top. That doesn’t mean things aren’t intense though. Just look at how intense the stare down was when the two faced off at the pre-fight press conferences and the ceremonial weigh ins.
You can view the full pre-fight press conference here:
The Rest Of The Card:
The rest of the PPV card is not something to blow by. The co-main event features the greatest women’s fighter of all time in double champ Amanda Nunes taking on #3 Julianna Peña (who fights out of Chicago by the way!). The remainder of the main PPV card is made up of an welterweight fight between #12 Geoff Neal and #14 Santiago Ponzinibbio, a flyweight fight between #6 Kai Kara France and #7 Cody Garbrandt in what could end up being the most explosive fight on the main card. Opening the PPV card is a bantamweight fight between #15 Raulian Paiva and unranked rising superstar “Suga” Sean O’Malley. Fighters like Dominik Cruz and Tai Tuivasa are also featured on the prelims.
UFC 269 prelims kick off at 7 pm CST on ESPN2 with the PPV being available for $69.99 on ESPN+ starting at 9 pm CST.