Bear-wrestling Sambist and UFC champion Khabib Nurmagomedov took a break from his ongoing social media feud with Conor McGregor to weigh in on the result of last night’s thrilling MMA brawls in Atlanta, calling out the man who could be hist most challenging competitor yet:
Dustin Poirier, a long-suffering underdog who finally landed a sizable center stage victory with this Interim Championship win over Max Holloway, told MMAJunkie.com that he has what it takes to do with Nurmagomedov what no one else has so far.
“Grit. Determination. The right amount of crazy. Self-belief. Everything it takes to be a champion, I have that,” said Poirier after the fight.
The unification of the title is reportedly set for Abu Dhabi, which gives Poirier a handful of months off before he’ll need to prep to take on The Eagle.
From a grappling POV, the matchup of a Sambo specialist like Khabib and jiujiteiro like Poirier is exciting. Poirier attacks the legs like a more traditional American wrestler, while Khabib prefers his tried and very much tested body lock. McGregor threatened Khabib with striking, Dos Anjos with legit blackbelt skills, and Iaquinta with wrestle-boxing, and in isolation none of these were enough to subdue Nurmagomedov. In Poirier we see, possibly anyway, the first challenger to marry high level striking, jiu-jitsu, guard, and takedowns equally into a comprehensive MMA battle plan.
The Diamond vs. The Eagle really could be the most exciting fight of the year.
Until then however, we celebrate the athleticism and brotherhood showcased by Poirier and Holloway.
“I love Max,” says Poirier. “I’ll fight him five more times.”