UFC 302: Makhachev Gets Chilly Reception in Newark, Poirier Wants to Write Story “the Right Way”

After fighting in numerous title fights from his interim title-winning performance against Max Holloway, to a BMF title fight with Justin Gaethje, to a pair of undisputed championship bouts opposite Khabib Nurmagomedov and Charles Oliveira, Dustin Poirier has spent much of his later years in the UFC chasing gold.

At UFC 302, Poirier likely has his last title shot, this time against Nurmagomedov’s teammate and current undisputed lightweight champion, Islam Makhachev. On the surface, Porier would have you believe that the revenge isn’t on his mind— but when asked during Thursday’s pre-fight press conference how the feeling ahead of UFC 302 differed from past title fights, it was Poirier who had the word revenge on his lips.

“It’s not about revenge it’s about getting ahead, about beating the number one pound-for-pound fighter, becoming the undisputed world champion,” exclaimed Poirier, to considerable cheers just moments after Makhachev had been greeted with a chilly reception at the Prudential Center in Newark. “That’s what this is about. It’s writing the story the right way.”

Asked whether Makhachev was truly the best fighter on the planet, Poirier suggested that “we’re going to find out Saturday, but pound-for-pound number one, current world champion, seems like it to me. But I’m going to find out. I’ll be the judge of that.”

Noting Makhachev’s numerous finishes, including submissions and KOs, Poirier also predicted that the main event showdown is unlikely to go to the final bell.

“This fight isn’t going to the distance. This isn’t going to be a 25-minute fight. One of us is going down hard Saturday night, and it’ll be my pleasure to walk out there and find out.”

After Poirier later suggested that he had been working on being content with his career, Makhachev cut in, “Dustin, why you so nervous man? Relax. Enjoy man. Let’s have fun.”

Poirier appeared confused, while Makhachev later explained his suggestion that Poirier and his team were rife with doubt. “When he meets some wrestlers, he always has trouble. That’s why he don’t believe.”

Makhachev also addressed the cool reception from the New Jersey crowd. “It doesn’t matter. I’ve fought all over the place, I’ve fought in Australia, and I’m used to people booing. But it’s okay, we’ll call them to Russia and we’ll show them what a real Russian welcome is like.”

The reception isn’t likely to be any warmer come June 1, but there’s certainly fireworks in the forecast if nothing else.

Watch the full UFC 302 pre-fight press conference above.