Abu Dhabi: It’s time to be grateful and graceful, a tearful Dustin Poirier told media as the American slipped away from the limelight after falling to undisputed world champion Khabib Nurmagomedov in the wee hours of Sunday.
In an event witnessed by a capacity 13,000 at The Arena, the ‘Dagestan Eagle’ moved to 28-0 as he punished Poirier on the ground over two-plus rounds before securing a rear naked choke to finish the fight at 2:06 into Round Three.
“I should have lasted the full 25 minutes. I should have tried a bit harder when I had my chances. I didn’t get my rhythm going. Why did I not jump and deliver when I had him in that choke? This is a question I will reflect on for the rest of my life,” a choked Poirier admitted.
“Tonight was about the world championship and there could be just one of us. I was fighting to be one and now, I have so many excuses,” he added.
In hindsight, things could have well been different had the 30-year-old American taken advantage after a stinging shot had shaken the lightweight champion up. However, Poirier couldn’t make that count and a split second later, Khabib was inside looking for another takedown.
“I had trouble landing my shots. I threw a jab and pulled hands to pull back a bit. I didn’t go crazy like I would normally. I feel I have let myself down,” Poirier sniffed.
“I think I didn’t do enough out there tonight. I should have done more. I was so prepared for tonight. But then, that’s destiny,” he added.
Poirier was next swept away by Khabib’s generosity when the Russian announced that he would auction the T-shirt he was wearing and donate the amount to the American’s charities charity, The Good Fight Foundation — especially in Uganda.
Later, UFC President Dana White chipped in by saying that he would match the T-shirt auction amount. “I don’t have words to thank them for this [gesture]. I have a lot of good things going and I am trying to do as much as I can to help people around the world,” he said.