Pros React to Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje’s Fight of the Year Candidate at UFC Glendale

UFC Glendale: Dustin Poirier
Dustin Poirier Credit: Dave Mandel/

No way were the pros going to be silent after the war put on by Justin Gaethje and Dustin Poirier at UFC Glendale on Saturday night. And they weren’t, with a host of fighters chiming in, including lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.

UFC Glendale (that’s UFC on FOX 29 for those concerned with numbering of events) had a main event that promised to be a war. Justin Gaethje, just 1-1 in the UFC, was already a fan favorite thanks to his gladiatorial, never back down style. Dustin Poirier was more than capable of putting on a violent showing himself. The bout promised fireworks — and my how it did deliver.

Gaethje chopped away at the legs of Poirier from the outset, slowing his opponent, and following that up with some very effective striking. Not to be outdone, Poirier answered back with an incredible output of strikes, bombarding Gaethje. Yet by the end of round three, despite having a point deducted (for eye pokes), it felt like Gaethje had the upper hand.

Then, early in the fourth, Poirier connected with a blow that stunned Gaethje. On wobbly legs, he was unable to fend Poirier off. Poirier poured it on, unleashing a flurry of unanswered strikes. By the time Gaethje finally went for a leg to buy time, ref Herb Dean had seen enough, waving the bout off. Poirier had the win! Afterwards, he called out champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.

Incidentally, ‘The Eagle’ was well aware of Poirier’s performance. He was among the many pros who reacted to the possible Fight of the Year contender.