Dustin Poirier will make his eagerly anticipated return to the octagon when he tangles with Dan Hooker at UFC APEX on June 27. The Diamond has come a long way since he beat Josh Grispi on his UFC debut back in January 2011, and these are his top-five finishes:
5. Carlos Diego Ferreira, April 2015
Poirier returned to lightweight for this exciting showdown with former Legacy UFC champion Ferreira. It proved to be an inspired decision, as The Diamond absolutely demolished his Brazilian opponent. Both men came out swinging, and Poirier landed a few heavy shots to Ferreira’s chin. He showed off his agility when he somersaulted out of an arm drag and pushed Ferreira against the fence. They then began trading punches in the center of the octagon, and Ferreira managed to slip and guard while landing some nice combinations. He dropped the Brazilian with a ferocious left hand. Ferreira managed to stay in the fight, he was wobbling, and Poirier picked him off with ruthless efficiency. He dropped Ferreira with a right uppercut and then continued to unload until the referee stopped the fight with 75 seconds remaining of the first round.
4. Yancy Medeiros, June 2015
Poirier was full of confidence when he clashed with Hawaiian star Medeiros in New Orleans two months later. The Louisiana native was roared on by a partisan home crowd, and he gave them plenty to cheer with a second consecutive Performance of the Night award. Medeiros missed the weight, but Poirier was still relishing the step back up to 155 lbs and he delivered another powerful display. It was a one-sided affair at the Smoothie King Center. He tossed Medeiros about like a rag doll and dropped him twice early on with some fierce shots. Medeiros gamely tried to stay in the fight, but Poirier secured a first-round victory with a kick to the liver and a barrage of strikes. “I felt the crowd while I was walking out,” Poirier said. “I knew I’d have them on my side – they’re bayou people. That’s the way we are.”
3. Max Holloway, February 2012
Poirier used a devastating chain of submissions before locking in a mounted triangle armbar to tap Holloway at UFC 143. Nowadays most of his wins come via knockout or decision, but The Diamond is also a brilliant wrestler and he secured many victories by submission in his early years as a UFC star. Yet this was his only Submission of the Night award, and he certainly deserved it. It was an intelligent fight from Poirier, who realized that Holloway was having plenty of success on his defeat and decided to switch to wrestling instead. The final armbar provided a brutal, spectacular finish to a thrilling fight. Poirier would go on to face Holloway once again in a bid for the interim UFC lightweight championship at UFC 236 in April 2019, and he won via a unanimous decision. He then lost to the undefeated Khabib Nurmagomedov in September, but he will be back in action this month. If you check out the MMA and UFC odds, you will see that Poirier is the favorite to get the job done against Hooker, and he may be in line for another title shot if he wins.
2. Justin Gaethje, April 2018
Gaethje is now one of the biggest names on the MMA scene after his scintillating victory over Tony Ferguson last month. He has battered luminaries like Donald Cerrone and Edson Barboza to a pulp, but he proved to be no match for Poirier at UFC on Fox 29. It was a phenomenal spectacle. Gaethje is renowned for his hyper-aggressive style and dubbed “The Highlight” due to his propensity for putting his opponents’ lights out in spectacular fashion. He charged at Poirier like a bullet train throughout the fight and left The Diamond battered and bruised. Yet Poirier survived the onslaught, landed huge blows of his own, and was ahead on all three cards when he stunned Gaethje with a fierce left and buried him with a flurry of punches in the fourth round. It was an extremely impressive knockout, and the bout was named 2018 Fight of the Year. Poirier had stitches in his face and hobbled out of the arena on crutches after taking a number of leg kicks, but he found enough in the tank to annihilate The Highlight in the fourth.
1. Eddie Alvarez, July 2018
Poirier clearly had a point to prove when he stepped into the octagon to fight Alvarez in 2018. Their first bout was deemed a no-contest after Alvarez landed illegal knees to Poirier’s head. It took 11 months to make the rematch happen, but it was well worth the wait. The first round was a close contest, and former UFC lightweight champion Alvarez ended up mounting Poirier in the second. He unleashed a pair of 12-6 elbows, and the referee ordered him to yield his dominant position for pulling off this illegal move. Poirier went totally ballistic on the restart. He caught Alvarez with a left and then crashed a knee into The Underground King’s chest, knocking him back against the fence. It was one-way traffic from that point. He landed nine punches to the face, hit Alvarez with another knee, and then unleashed a furious flurry of punches. Alvarez dropped to the ground and the referee called it off.