Dustin Poirier asserts that Justin Gaethje remains a reckless fighter, but now he’s more cautious

Few have the courage to step into the Octagon with Justin Gaethje more than once. Dubbed one of the most violent fighters in mixed martial arts history, the former interim UFC lightweight champion is notorious for his relentless pace and uncompromising style that leaves most opponents battered and bruised. But for Dustin Poirier, the chance to test himself against Gaethje again is an opportunity he needs to seize.

Asked why he’s jumping at the chance to fight Gaethje in UFC 291, Poirier responded, “Because I need it. That’s where I do my best. That’s where I’m the most motivated. That’s where I learn the most about myself and about combat sports. That’s where greatness is, man, in that uncomfortable — and that’s what I try to do, is put myself in that fire. And this is one of those fights that does it.” Poirier’s eagerness is understandable, as he emerged victorious against Gaethje in their first bout in 2018, earning Fight of the Year honors.

But both fighters are no strangers to accolades, boasting an impressive 24 post-fight bonuses between them. And with the UFC’s title up for grabs in the main event, Poirier knows he’s in for a battle. “This fight, I think, could headline without a BMF title,” he said. “This is an exciting fight. But that just adds more fun to it to me.”

Still, Poirier recognizes the pressure of expectations on his shoulders. “How do I do that better?” he pondered. “I just need to win. I think our fighting styles, it’s going to be an incredible fight. I don’t go into that trying to have an exciting fight. I signed a contract yesterday, so it’s done once I signed that — I know what I’m getting into.

“This is legacy,” Poirier added. “That’s what this is for me. This is just cementing legacy.” Both fighters have shown they can deliver excitement in the Octagon, and fans are in for a treat as they ready to face off once again.


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