10 Jun - 
UFC 242: Poirier’s chances against Khabib?

Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Dustin Poirier is now officially set following an announcement on 4th June, in the latest development of the UFC news. The interim lightweight champion Poirier will be taking on the lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov at the UFC 242 with the matchup unifying the titles. UFC 242 will be taking place at Abu Dhabi on September 7, however, no further information has been released regarding the event.

UFC 242 will be the official comeback fight for Khabib Nurmagomedov after serving his suspension following the post-fight brawl that arose subsequently to his victory against Conor McGregor at UFC 229 in Las Vegas. The brawl came after Nurmagomedov scaled the octagon to launch an attack on McGregor’s team after defeating the Irishman to maintain his unbeaten 27-0 record last year. Khabib was handed a nine-month suspension and a $500,000 fine by the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC).

On the other hand, Dustin Poirier, the interim lightweight champion has been on a four-fight winning streak and that too against some big names: Justin Gaethje, Eddie Alvarez, Anthony Pettis and Max Holloway. However,Khabib Nurmagomedov will enter this fight with a flawless 27-0 record and is hands down the favorite for the bout. From a neutral perspective, we take a look at Dustin Poirier’s chance at halting the juggernaut Khabib.

Analysis

Dustin Poirier is a nimble feet inside the ring and possesses far better technical ability than Khabib. Poirier’s technique is complete and refined, whether you call the punches, knees, elbows, submissions, etc., which gives you the feeling that he can be lethal against any opponent. And renowned podcast host Joe Rogan seems to agree; he emphasized on the latest episode of The Joe Rogan Episode how important Poirier’s footwork can be inside the ring.

Kevin Lee was quoted saying: “The way Dustin’s footwork was looking, that is what makes you think about it. Khabib is a one train mind, he is going to come at you. You know what he is going to do, too. If Dustin can, not even necessarily can outwrestle him, it is way easier to play defense on wrestling than offense. And, if you have got great footwork like that to keep your back off the fence. It might be a long night for Khabib. It is a good fight. He’s southpaw, that is going to play a big factor in it. It is a little harder to get in on those shots.”

However, taking a look at Khabib, it is almost scaringly understandable why he is the favourite. While “The Eagle” does not possess the technical finesse of Poirier, he is one of the best pure wrestlers among mixed martial artists. He almost always finds the easiest way to take you down to the floor, and once you’re down against Khabib there is very little chance that you’re gonna get back up as his top pressure is next to none. And to back that up, he is relentless at it. Everyone time his opponent gets up on his feet, Khabib finds another way to throw him back to the ground till he drains his opponent of his last reserve of energy.

Conclusion

In theory, Dustin Poirier has all the tools to stop Khabib in his tracks, but in all practicality, executing them against Khabib seems like an impossibility. Poirier is a top drawer UFC fighter, but it is very unlikely that he can pull off a major upset against Nurmagomedov to send shockwaves in the UFC news. In all fairness, there are extremely few fighters in the MMA industry and not just the UFC, that seem capable of doing that.