Dustin Poirier Reveals Why He Agreed to a Five-Round Co-Main Event Against Benoit Saint-Denis at UFC 299

Dustin Poirier witnessed Benoit Saint-Denis deliver a devastating head kick that nearly ended Matt Frevola’s fight during UFC 295 last November.


Poirier (29-8 MMA, 22-8 UFC) couldn’t deny his admiration, but he didn’t think he and Saint-Denis would cross paths anytime soon.


“In my head, I was sitting there in the chair cage-side like, ‘No way that’s happening. This guy has some work to do,’ Poirier said during an interview on “The MMA Hour” on Monday. 


Now, just four months later, Dustin Poirier is gearing up for a highly anticipated five-round about on March 9th against Saint-Denis (13-1 MMA, 5-1 UFC) at UFC 299 in Miami. This matchup has piqued fans’ interest, although it’s somewhat unexpected. In recent months, Poirier had made it clear that he would only return to the octagon for fights against well-known opponents or fights with significant meaning.


The question now is: What led to this change of heart?


“In my head, I was kind of like, ‘Maybe a legacy fight. Maybe an RDA. Maybe another former champion. I don’t know, just something,’”  Poirier said on ‘The MMA Hour’ about his initial hopes for his next fight. “I thought the offer in the UFC would be something more like that. I needed something to get me up in the morning.” 


“I respect this sport, and I honor this sport, and I’m 35 years old now. This guy is a young, hungry lion who is on a streak. I think he finished five fights in a row. Somebody gave me my shot to crack in, so I respect the game. That’s what I’m doing. Let’s see if I still (can do it). March 9, buy the pay-per-view, and we’ll see. We’ll find out.”


Although the upcoming fight isn’t a title match or a headliner, it’s set for five rounds, a pattern we frequently see in undercard matchups in recent events.


Poirier has revealed that the championship rounds weren’t initially included in the offer, but he requested them and ultimately got his wish.


“You know that meme with the dog looking in the mirror, and he’s like me checking if I still got that dog in me,” Poirier said. “Five rounds, March 9. … I told them, ‘I’ll fight the guy, but let’s do it five rounds.’ … Because I feel like the better fighter, unless something happens early, the better fighter wins over five rounds.”

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