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2 Sep, 2019 14:31

‘If I beat Khabib, I’m the best lightweight ever’ – Poirier confident ahead of UFC 242

‘If I beat Khabib, I’m the best lightweight ever’ – Poirier confident ahead of UFC 242

A long list of names have attempted to hand Khabib Nurmagomedov his first career loss but Dustin Poirier says that he is more than capable of succeeding where the previous 27 men have failed at UFC 242.

Poirier emerged from a crowded pack on contenders at 155lbs to become the clear number one contender to Nurmagoedov's lightweight crown and, ahead of their meeting in Abu Dhabi this weekend, the American fighter is in confident mood.

He has beaten a who's-who of contenders to secure his shot against the undefeated Russian superstar, with the likes of Max Holloway, Eddie Alvarez and Justin Gaethje all sent packing by Poirier in recent fights as he forged a path toward UFC gold. All that is left to do is achieve the impossible against the dominant champion, a win which Poirier says will stand him alone as the world's best lightweight fighter.

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"It's huge. It's history," Poirier told MMA Fighting of his upcoming date with Nurmagomedov. "When I go out there and beat Khabib, it’s not a question of am I the best UFC lightweight? It’s a question of am I the best lightweight to ever fight in mixed martial arts with the run I'm on."

It is a reasonable argument. In his last fight, an interim lightweight title bout with 145lb champion Holloway, he defeated a fighter who was unbeaten in 13 contests. Add to that Khabib's current unblemished record and he will have faced two fighters with a combined winning streak of 40-0. 

Victory isn't assured, far from it, but if it comes it will be difficult to overlook the accomplishment.

"If I go out there and stop Khabib, I’m the best lightweight fighter to ever strap on a pair of four-ounce gloves. Simple and plain," Poirier said. "I'm not wrong in saying it."

A win, should it come, will open up a whole new level of challenges for Poirier. There will undoubtedly be calls for a Khabib rematch, but Tony Ferguson and Conor McGregor remain on the periphery. 

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Whatever comes his way, Poirier says he is ready.

"This is going to start the reign," Poirier continued. "This is the fight that gives me the undisputed title. But on the other side, this is the fight where I etch my name into the history books forever. Because of this win, I’m going to forever be a part of the best of the best of mixed martial arts.

"But I’m 30 years old and I still feel like my best fights are ahead of me. I’m starting to hit my stride. This is the beginning of 'The Diamond' reign."