Dustin Poirier is confident that he can beat Max Holloway when they throw down at UFC 236, but “The Diamond” isn’t basing that on what transpired in their first fight.
This past weekend the UFC announced that Poirier is going to battle Holloway for an interim lightweight title on April 13th. The news caught more than a few folks off guard, as the consensus had been that if the UFC put up an interim belt, Tony Ferguson would be one of the competitors. But, according to UFC President Dana White, Ferguson turned down the fight.
As noted above, the upcoming bout won’t be the first between Poirier and Holloway. Back in 2012, Holloway and Poirier fought at UFC 143, and the latter scored a first round, submission win. Since news of their rematch broke, Poirier spoke with MMA Junkie, and here’s what he had to say about the fact he beat Holloway once before.
“We’re both completely different people,” Poirier said. “We’re both men now. By the time we fight it’s going to be over seven years since we first fought. We were both kids. Seven years fighting in the top organization in the world is a lifetime. There’s lot of guys out there who wish they could’ve fought at this level for seven years. We’re relatively both still young. I think we’re going to come into this fight over 40 fights of UFC experience between the two of us. This is going to be a very high-level fight. This guy is an established world champion – defending, reigning world champion.
“I have a lot of respect for the guy. But I beat him once when we were kids. This is a completely different fight, but I’m confident I can do it again. I’m excited it’s at this time in his career. He’s hit a great stride, he’s defending his belt, and people are talking about how great his striking is and his overall game. He just had a beautiful performance against Brian Ortega. People expect that performance out of him every time, and it will really give me an opportunity and a stage to show what I’m capable of, and I’m just excited to show everybody how good I am.”
The fact Poirier beat Holloway before, might, maybe, play a role in terms of the mental side to this match-up, but it’s unlikely. After all, as Poirier noted, the first bout was a lifetime ago by MMA standards. There’s no question both men have improved and rounded out their games since then. Further, Holloway is currently riding a 13 fight winning streak and has established himself as one of the greatest, pound-for-pound fighters on the planet.
UFC 236 will be hosted by Atlanta, Georgia.