With a nickname like “The Diamond,” Dustin Poirier’s future in the UFC could not be any brighter. But it is the beginning of his UFC career that has fans talking about a possible showdown with featherweight champion Jose Aldo.
Poirier is quick to temper those talks, though. While he certainly sees himself fighting for the title in the next few years, he still finds it surreal to be discussing it just one year after making his UFC debut.
“Ideally, for me, I would like a little more experience and a little time before I fight Jose,” Poirier told MMAFrenzy.com. “I just turned 23 earlier this month, and I haven’t talked to anybody from the UFC about that possibility.”
“But that is my goal, as it is everyone’s goal, to be the UFC champion. Whatever the UFC thinks is the next step for me and my career, I’m ready.”
But before Poirier can even get that call from Joe Silva, he must first get past Max Holloway this Saturday at UFC 143.
Holloway is the third opponent to be scheduled against Poirier, after Eric Koch and Ricardo Lamas both withdrew due to injuries. Even though most fans have never heard of Holloway, Poirier is focused on getting past the challenges that the Hawaiian UFC newcomer brings to the cage.
“Max is an exciting fighter,” said Poirier. “He has good cardio, and is always walking forward. This will definitely be an exciting fight to watch.”
After two opponent changes left him with a fighter who is making his UFC debut, it is understandable that it could have an effect on his training camp, but Poirier mentioned no such issues.
“Fighting Max actually worked out in my favor,” explained Poirier. “With Eric [Koch] as my first opponent, I was training for him and his kickboxing. Then I was set to fight Ricardo Lamas, who is a wrestler with good submissions, so I had to change up my camp for that. After he was injured, I was given Max, who is similar to Eric, so I was able to train for kickboxing once again.”
That Poirier is such a huge favorite over Holloway is a testament to the tremendous start to his UFC career. Transitioning from the WEC, Poirier decided to drop from lightweight to featherweight.
Just over a year ago, he made both his UFC and featherweight debut at UFC 125 against Josh Grispi. It was Grispi who was fighting in a situation similar to Poirier is now; a contender who could earn a title shot if he defeats the newcomer.
However, Poirier was able to defeat Grispi in a surprising upset. He also went on to defeat Jason Young and Pablo Garza in 2011. The year could have not gone any better for Poirier, who describes it as a dream come true.
“It is crazy how quickly my hard work is paying off,” explained Poirier. “My first year in the UFC was amazing. I want to perform to my capabilities, and so far I have.”
When it comes to 2012, Poirier hopes for even more. It all starts with this Saturday against Holloway. From there, he just hopes to continue developing.
“I am only looking at getting my hand raised on Saturday. From there, hopefully I can take some time off after this fight. With no fight scheduled, I can have some fun with my training instead of training specifically for one person.”
But if he does have to return to training, and that one person is Jose Aldo, Poirier would not turn down the opportunity.
“Somebody has to face him.”