UFC interim lightweight champion Dustin Poirier says he is happy to be regarded as the underdog as he attempts to inflict a first-ever defeat on Khabib Nurmagomedov (Match betting – Nurmagomedov 1/5, Poirier 10/3).
The American has blown his way through the division over the past two-and-a-half years to earn his first shot at a world title in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.
He claimed the interim belt after beating Max Holloway by unanimous decision at UFC 236 to earn the Fight of the Night bonus in Atlanta, Georgia.
But Poirier (5/1 To win by KO, TKO or Disqualification) faces a test like no other at UFC 242 when he steps in to the octagon to face the undefeated Khabib.
The Eagle makes his eagerly anticipated return after a ban, following his actions in sparking a brawl after his victory over Conor McGregor at UFC 238, and he will need to prove that the time away from the cage hasn’t left him rusty.
Despite not fighting since that win over the Irishman in October 2018, lightweight champion Khabib is still the heavy favourite due to his formidable ground game.
Poirier insists he isn’t bothered about having his chances written off and feels he has what it takes to stop his Russian counterpart in the showpiece event.
“I’m embracing this role of the underdog and I’m excited to go out there and show everybody my skill set on the biggest stage possible. This is the best thing that could happen to my career,” Poirier said.
“I believe I’m going to stop Khabib. I really do.
“It plays out with me unifying the belts and getting my hands raised and putting the first loss on Khabib’s record.”