Poirier uses Abu Dhabi bouts with Nurmagomedov and McGregor as inspiration at UFC 269

Popular American takes on lightweight champion Oliveira in Las Vegas early on Sunday

Dustin Poirier says he will draw on big-fight experience gleaned in Abu Dhabi when he attempts to finally become an undisputed UFC champion this weekend.

The former interim lightweight belt-holder, 32, takes on current champion Charles Oliveira in the headline bout at UFC 269, which takes place at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas early Sunday (UAE time).

Poirier, whose professional record reads 28-6, goes into the hugely anticipated match-up on the back of three high-profile wins since losing his only other shot at the title, against Khabib Nurmagomedov, at UFC 242 in Abu Dhabi in September 2019.

Rebounding with a brilliant victory against Dan Hooker in June last year, Poirier then put together back-to-back victories against Conor McGregor – the first of which secured in the UAE capital, at UFC 257 in January. The clash, sealed by second-round TKO at Etihad Arena, represented the first knockout loss of McGregor’s professional career. Poirier is ranked the division's No 1 contender.

Oliveira, meanwhile, rides a nine-fight win streak, including his lightweight coronation in May when he defeated Michael Chandler to land the crown vacated by the now-retired Nurmagomedov.

On how those headline bouts in Abu Dhabi could help going into UFC 269, Poirier said: “Travelling across the world has given me more experience in my fighting career, and the ability to be able to walk into these places and put on a performance.

“I would definitely come back to the UAE. I had a great time there; the people were nice – but knocking Conor McGregor out was the highlight.”

Then, speaking at the pre-event media day late Wednesday, Poirier said: “If I become world champion Saturday night, I’ve done it all in this sport, everything I’ve set out to do.

“I’ve set my family up, we’re in a good position financially; other businesses outside of fighting going on. I have to check that box. That’s for ever.

“I was saying 25 minutes to make life fair. This is 25 minutes for eternity. That’s what this is. You don’t take that away. Once a champion, always a champion. It’s very important for me and my wife. None of this was done in vain, regardless of what happens Saturday night. But it just cements everything.”

Oliveira-Poirier is one of two title fights at UFC 269, with double-champion Amanda Nunes defending her bantamweight belt against Julianna Pena in the co-main event.

Updated: December 10th 2021, 3:28 AM