Dustin Poirier Discusses Miscommunication About Benoit Saint Denis Fight, Shares Initial Matchup Date

UFC lightweight star Dustin Poirier is set to fight Benoit Saint Denis at UFC 299, after initial doubts due to miscommunication and contractual disagreements with the promotion.

Dustin Poirier, UFC lightweight sensation, is feeling pretty good about his position in the promotion. This comes a week after his UFC 299 fight with Benoit Saint Denis was thrown into uncertainty.

He didn’t spill much about the behind-the-scenes drama that put the fight in jeopardy. The fight, which is the co-main event on March 9 in Miami, is more important to him. He’s just glad it all worked out.

“I don’t want to get too deep into it,” Poirier said on The MMA Hour. There was a bit of a mix-up, not everyone was on the same page. He couldn’t reach someone, things got a bit muddled. He was left hanging, waiting for an update. But hey, it is what it is. The fight’s still on.

He first said the fight was off last Thursday. Later, he added that there was no contractual agreement before the fight was announced and they couldn’t agree on terms. His teammate, Johnny Eblen, accused the promotion of being stingy and choosing not to make the fight happen. Later, Poirier confirmed the fight was back on after a misunderstanding with the promotion and a chat with his manager.

The specifics of his agreement are still under wraps. But Poirier did let slip one demand he had for the fight: It had to be five rounds.

“I feel like the better fighter, unless something wild happens early, wins over five rounds,” he said. Even if his opponent doesn’t tire out or find it tough, he’s the god of war. That’s what he wants. Poirier feels like his rhythm, timing, and experience come into play the longer the fight goes. He’ll find openings.

Saint Denis wasn’t on Poirier’s radar for a potential fight until he beat Poirier’s teammate, Thiago Moises. Even when Saint Denis knocked out Matt Frevola at UFC 295 and called out Poirier, the ex-interim champ’s immediate reaction was “this guy’s got some work to do.”

When it was time to discuss future matchups with the UFC, Poirier said the big names he wanted weren’t offered. Names like Conor McGregor — his three-time opponent — and Nate Diaz, a long-desired opponent, weren’t part of the conversation. Instead, the option was Saint Denis for UFC 300.

“I was talking with [UFC Executive] Hunter [Campbell], and we were like, maybe the opening of the [UFC 300] pay-per-view, maybe the second fight of the pay-per-view,” Poirier said. “And then [UFC 299] we started talking about, and to be the co-main event, [and] I’m like, that’s a much bigger slot. It’s close to my training camp, it’s close to home. … So just I wanted to be part of 300, but this just made more sense, I think.”

Poirier is the underdog for the fight, which isn’t surprising since he’s coming off a knockout loss to Justin Gaethje. He’s not bothered by the label, saying it’s more of the same.

“I’m 35, he’s 28. He finished five guys in a row,” Poirier said of Saint Denis. “He’s finishing all of his wins in his career. Maybe that’s why, I don’t know. My whole life, I’ve been an underdog. This is where I performed the best.”

If Saint Denis is the future and Poirier is the past, Poirier said everyone will know on March 9.

“Somebody gave me my shot to crack in [to the top 15],” he said. “So I respect the game, and that’s what I’m doing. Let’s see if I still [got it]. You know the meme with the dog looking in the mirror and he’s like, checking to see if I still got that dog in me?

“Five rounds on March 9th.”


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