Dubai: UFC interim lightweight champion Dustin Poirier says he intends to show the world how great a fighter he is by becoming the first man in history to “put away” Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 242 in Abu Dhabi next Saturday.
The American (17-4 UFC, 25-5 MMA) takes on the Russian lightweight title-holder (11-0 UFC, 27-0 MMA) at a brand new purpose-built venue called The Arena, which is located on Yas Island.
“I feel it in my body. I know I’m going to hurt him and put him away,” Poirier told MMA Fighting’s Danny Segura in a recent interview broadcast on YouTube.
Reminded that 27 fighters have failed in their attempts to beat Khabib, what made Poirier so confident of rewriting UFC history?
“Just my whole game, everything,” he said. “My well-rounded understanding of positions, of jiu-jitsu, of wrestling, kick-boxing, my MMA understanding and my commitment to being the best fighter that I can be is going to come through and I’m going to show the world how great I am.”
A professional competitor since 2009, Poirier, 30, has posted notable victories over champions Max Holloway (twice), Eddie Alvarez, Justin Gaethie and Anthony Pettis.
“I can hurt anybody in the world, I know what I’m capable of,” he said, while acknowledging that Khabib is the best fighter he has ever faced.
“These guys don’t scare me, but he’s probably the most dominant, in one aspect of fighting - his top pressure, his take-downs. That skill set he has is the best I’ve ever fought.”
Khabib, also 30-years of age, is the first Russian fighter to win a UFC title and he did so beating no other than Conor McGregor at UFC 229 last year.
He is also on No 2 in official UFC pound-for-pound rankings behind Jon Jones who is regarded as one of the most dangerous and greatest fighters of all-time.
Commenting on Abu Dhabi being the chosen venue Poirier, who is based in Louisiana, United States, said: “It’s extra-special for me. It’s never been done before in a place across the world.”
The official weigh-in for UFC 242 will be on Friday at the Yas Arena.