Demetrious Johnson: Dustin Poirier Hall of Famer Regardless of UFC Title

Demetrious Johnson believes Dustin Poirier deserves to be in the UFC Hall of Fame despite never winning an undisputed title, highlighting Poirier’s tough competition and significant achievements in MMA.

Demetrious Johnson believes there’s no doubt that Dustin Poirier is a Hall of Famer.

At UFC 302, Poirier once again came up short in his bid for UFC gold. He was submitted in the final round of his lightweight title shot against Islam Makhachev. It was Poirier’s third crack at the undisputed belt. Afterward, “The Diamond” suggested it might be the final fight of his illustrious career.

And if it was, Johnson believes there’s no question that Poirier deserves to be enshrined in the UFC Hall of Fame. Despite never becoming an undisputed champion.

“Absolutely, I think so,” Johnson said on The MMA Hour. “Here’s the thing, there’s going to be other people who touch the UFC lightweight gold — and I said the same thing to Urijah Faber about this back in the day. ‘Urijah, you will probably never be a UFC champion, but you’ll still be probably one of the biggest stars in MMA.’

I think that’s the same thing with Dustin Poirier. He might never touch UFC gold, but he’s going to make a lot more money than many of the champions who touched gold. He’s going to have the biggest brand because he always fought with his heart on his sleeve.

“I think he can sleep good at night thinking that way.”

Considering Poirier won Fight of the Year in 2018 and has numerous other bouts in contention for that award, it’s a virtual certainty that “The Diamond” will make it into the Hall of Fame one day in the Fight Wing. But the question is whether he deserves to make it in on his career alone.

While Poirier did win an interim lightweight title in 2019, his inability to claim the undisputed title is a black mark to some. Very few fighters honored in the Hall were not full champions.

But as Johnson notes, Poirier also had an exceedingly hard road to try and get that belt.

“Three opportunities to fight for the belt: Lost to Charles Oliveira, lost to Khabib, now lost to Islam Makhachev,” Johnson said. “It reminds me of Urijah Faber. He had multiple times to fight for the belt, always came up short, and Urijah was always a class act about his opportunity and not getting the belt.

When you look at Dustin, it’s the same thing. After the fight he was like, ‘Ah, f*ck. I got finished again.’ You can see it in his face. All you can do is respect a guy like that.

“It’s a tough game and all the guys he fought for the belt have been the best in the world. Dustin has fought more champions to get the belt. Charles Oliveira, absolute gangster. Khabib, undefeated, the lightweight GOAT. Islam, another lightweight GOAT. … The road for Dustin to get gold has probably been the hardest in the lightweight division in today’s era.”

Of course, there is also the chance that he still could claim gold. Poirier did not commit to retirement after UFC 302. So it’s possible Poirier ultimately does decide to continue competing. But Johnson doesn’t think so.

Given how Poirier carried himself after UFC 302, “Mighty Mouse” believes that was the last we’ll see of him in the octagon.

“I don’t think he fight’s again,” Johnson said. “When I was listening to Dustin Poirier’s press conference, it makes sense. What is he fighting for? He wants to fight for a belt, and in order for him to do that, he has to work his way all the way up the ranks again.

Granted, he won one fight and got a title shot, so things can happen like that again, but what’s he fighting for? It seems like he’s financially sound. He’s got the hot sauce, he’s got a lot of things going on, he’s got his daughter, got his wife, and there’s a lot more.

“Even Sean Strickland said something, ‘What’s the point of having $20 million in the bank when you can’t even spend the money because your brain is shot from CTE?’ Not saying Dustin has CTE, but Dustin hasn’t gotten through his career unscathed. He’s been knocked out, he’s been submitted. … These are miles that are put on his body that are going to live with him forever.

So at the end of the day, it’s like, ‘Hey, I’m 35, I made a shit-load of money, I knocked out Conor twice, I got two red panty nights, the only thing I didn’t get in my career was the gold.’

“But who knows? I think if he doesn’t fight again, I’ll be happy for him.”

If Poirier does retire, he leaves the UFC with a record of 22-8 (1 NC). He is tied with Edson Barboza for the most Fight of the Night bonuses in promotional history. And tied for the fourth-most wins in promotional history.


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