Will 2021 end with Poirier as a UFC Champion?
Dustin Poirier has defied the odds and beaten Conor McGregor not once but twice this year. Can he now end the year with a UFC title belt around his waist? He takes on Charles Oliveira for his lightweight title at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on December 11.
Those of you who love to bet on a UFC fight ending via submission could be in for a treat next month. Charles Oliveira defends his UFC lightweight title against Dustin Poirier at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on December 11.
For all his success, Poirier has only won an interim title in the UFC. He made his professional MMA debut in 2009 and two years later joined the UFC. It’s his tenth anniversary, can we bet on him to make it an extra special one and become the undisputed lightweight champion?
His time in the UFC began with four successive victories. One of those wins was over Max Holloway, so it was clear to see the potential that he had. However, his next two fights did not go well for him. He lost his unbeaten record in the UFC to Chang Sung Jung and then suffered another defeat to Club Swanson in 2013.
Betting on him being able to come back from those defeats wouldn’t have been a confident one to place at that time. Three fights in a row were won though and that led to his first bout against Conor McGregor.
That took place in Las Vegas at UFC 178 in September 2014. It proved to be another disappointing evening for Poirier. Sportsbooks had McGregor as the favorite to win and he took just 106 seconds to justify that favoritism, winning by TKO.
The loss to McGregor saw Poirier move down to the lightweight division. That proved to be a success with four wins in a row, three of which were won in the first round. September isn’t his lucky night though. In 2016, he took on Michael Johnson in Texas and this time it was Poirier who was knocked out in the first round.
It was back to the comeback trail for Poirier and the odds on him becoming a champion shortened with a win over Jim Miller. He ran into problems in his next fight in May 2017 against Eddie Alvarez. He was knocked down in the second round and another loss looked likely. However, his opponent then did something that would upset anyone who had bet on him. Alvarez landed blows on the downed Poirier and that led to the fight being declared a no-contest.
Poirier met Alvarez again the following year and this time won in the second round. He was climbing up the lightweight rankings with three wins and that earned him a shot against Max Holloway (who of course he’d already beaten once) for the interim UFC lightweight title.
The fight wasn’t held in September, so Poirier was ok and he won the interim title with a unanimous decision. That led to a showdown with Khabib Nurmagomedov for the undisputed lightweight title.
Two problems for Poirier, the first being that his opponent was in great form, the other being it took place in September. Nurmagomedov was the heavy odds on favorite with the bookies and won by submission in the third round and Poirier ended 2019 without a title belt.
A win over Dan Hooker was his only fight last year. 2021 has seen him on the road to this title fight with two wins over the rather wealthy Conor McGregor. The odds were against Poirier, but he won the first fight at UFC 257 in January, making his Irish opponent submit in the second round.
A third fight between the pair was held in July. Again, Poirier came out on top with the fight stopped at the end of the first round.
Those two wins have propelled Poirier into this title match against Oliveria. It’s not being held in September so that’s one bonus. Can he end this eventful year as the UFC lightweight champion? According to the Pointsbet sportsbook, Poirier is odds-on to do just that.
If he is to justify those odds and win the title, Poirier is going to have to be on top form. Oliveria last lost a fight in 2017. Since a defeat by Paul Felder, he’s won nine straight bouts and won the UFC lightweight title in May of this year.
It didn’t take him long to reward anyone who’d placed a bet on him. Oliveria beat Michael Chandler in just 19 seconds. It was a record-breaking 19th UFC finish for the Brazilian and he already holds the record for most submissions. Anyone backing Poirier to win this fight will have to remember he’s up against the UFC submission king. It promises to be a great fight next month.