“It hurts,” was the way Poirier (23-5 MMA, 15-4 UFC) described the feeling of clashing with Gaethje (18-2 MMA, 1-2 UFC) for three-plus rounds before a concussive fourth-round finish. “I got hit with a couple of leg kicks I didn’t want to get hit with. More than a couple.”
Poirier, the No. 9-ranked fighter in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA lightweight rankings, could hardly bend his right leg after taking dozens of kicks from Gaethje. His left eye was a red mess and felt, he said, like it had been turned inside out. Still, he planned to get back into the gym after one week of vacation with his family.
With a title shot potentially beckoning, Poirier doesn’t want to back off now. He’s ready to answer whenever the UFC calls him with an offer to face champ Khabib Nurmagomedov, who was among those who praised Saturday’s headliner.
Backstage, Poirier didn’t get a chance to talk to UFC President Dana White, who on FOX’s post-event show signaled his interest in seeing “The Diamond” challenge for the title while also not committing to the idea.
Unable to reach White during an interview on the show, Poirier instead looked at White and called out, “It’s time” – just like he did in so many words after his FOX-televised win at Gila River Arena in Glendale, Ariz.
“I want to fight for gold, man,” Poirier told MMAjunkie. “I’m not chasing rematches with Conor (McGregor), or rematches with Eddie (Alvarez). That’s not my goal. My goal isn’t to get even with these guys. My goal is to prosper and be a world champion and make money and retire and say, ‘I did it.’
“I just want to go to sleep with that belt around my waist one night and tell my wife, ‘I did it.’ Years and years ago, in 2006, I didn’t have a car, and (my wife) would drive me to weigh-ins. We would sleep in broken down motels and fight the next day, just me and her. I just want to say, ‘I did it,’ man.”
Poirier came out to boos and fans saying “crazy stuff,” but gave the audience little choice other than to get on his side after such a spirited brawl. And while the fight wasn’t entirely without controversy due to some eyepokes traded between the two, there was no doubt that something special happened in the cage.
“That’s what you came to see, right?” Poirier asked. “You bought a ticket to see a fight, and we just left it all out there. We had a desert shootout, and one man was standing when the smoke cleared.”
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Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie
Read the full article here: After UFC on FOX 29 triumph, Dustin Poirier all in on title shot: I just want to say, 'I did it'