A timeline in the career of Dustin Poirier

Dustin Poirier will be trying for his first undisputed title at UFC 302.
UFC 269: Oliveira v Poirier
UFC 269: Oliveira v Poirier / Carmen Mandato/GettyImages

For the past 14 years, Dustin Poirier has been a feature in the UFC. The 35-year-old Louisiana native has been ranked near the top of the lightweight division for most of his tenure. Throughout his career, Poirier has delivered memorable fights and finishes. However, Poirier is still chasing the one thing that has eluded him throughout his career, an undisputed championship.

When was Dustin Poirier's first professional MMA fight?

Poirier began his professional career in 2009 at the age of 20. Within 13 months, Poirier had won his first seven fights, finishing all seven of his opponents within the first two rounds.

In the penultimate WEC event, WEC 52, Poirier bounced back from his first career loss, knocking out Zach Micklewright in the first round. The victory was the first of five wins in a row for Poirier, who dropped from lightweight to featherweight. At UFC 143, Poirier submitted Max Holloway to earn his first performance bonus.

Even in the early stages of Poirier's career he became a fan favorite. Poirier's willingness to trade strikes and aggressively engage his opponent always lead to exciting fights that the fans would appreciate him for.

When was Dustin Poirier's first UFC main event?

Poirier's rise to the top was not without adversity. In his first main event, Poirier fought the Korean Zombie, Jung Chan-Dung. Poirier was submitted in the fourth round. While Poirier did earn Fight of the Night, his winning streak was halted. After submitting Jonathan Brookins in the first round, Poirier returned and was beaten by Cub Swanson. With two losses in his previous three fights, Poirier was forced to drop down and rebuild himself. Poirier rallied off three straight victories and won a fight of the night bonus.

When did Dustin Poirier first fight Conor McGregor?

At UFC 178, Poirier fought fast-rising Irish prospect Conor McGregor. McGregor would knockout Poirier earning a performance bonus as he moved closer to capturing the UFC featherweight title. The fight would be starting point of the biggest rivalry of Poirier's career. The loss would also be the last fight at featherweight for Poirier. The weight cut had simply become too much for Poirier, who later stated that weight cutting had begun to interfere with his training for fights.

Poirier immediately put the lightweight division on notice as he won his first four fights in the division and picked up two performance bonuses. In his second career main event, Poirier was knocked out by Michael Johnson in the first round. That would be Poirier's last loss for three years.

Poirier went on the best run of his career as he climbed to the top of the lightweight division rankings. Over a six-fight stretch, Poirier beat a list of future UFC Hall of Famers. Poirier earned Fight of the Fight after beating Jim Miller. That fight was followed by a no-contest against former UFC lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez. Poirier won fight of the night in two straight fights, submitting another former champion, Anthony Pettis, and knocking out Justin Gaethje. In his next fight, Poirier would fight Alvarez again, earning a performance bonus after a second-round knockout.

When did Dustin Poirier's charity work begin?

During this stretch of fights, Poirier turned his focus to his interests outside of the Octagon. Porier auctioned off his UFC 211 fighter's kit to raise money for Second Harvest Food Bank. In April 2018, Poirier and his wife started the Good Fight Foundation. Poirier continued auctioning off his fighter's kit and used his platform with the UFC to raise money for various causes. Through the Good Fight Foundation, Poirier has given 500 backpacks to children in his hometown, built a playground, and helped provide clean drinking water to people in Uganda, to name a few of his charity benefactors.

When was Dustin Poirier's first title shot?

The impressive string of performances earned Poirier his first UFC title fight against Khabib Nurmagomedov. However, the fight would not occur after Nurmagomedov was suspended after an incident at UFC 229. Poirier would instead fight Holloway again. In the years following their first fight, Holloway became the UFC featherweight champion and entered their UFC 236 fight on a 13-fight winning streak. Poirier would easily beat Holloway, winning 49-46 on all three judges scorecards.

At UFC 242, Poirier would get his first shot at the UFC undisputed lightweight championship. However, he would be submitted by Nurmagomedov in the third round. The loss again forced Poirier to regroup and rebuild himself as he continued his quest to become an undisputed champion.

After a nine-month hiatus, Poirier returned and defeated Dan Hooker, earning another performance of the night bonus. The UFC also recognized Poirier in 2020 with the Forrest Griffin Community Award to recognize him for his charity work.

Poirier's next fight would renew a rivalry, seven years in the making. At UFC 257, Poirier would get the big money fight in a rematch with McGregor. Poirier would emerge victorious, knocking out the former two-division champion in the second round. With the series with McGregor tied at one victory apiece, the two would fight for a third time at UFC 264. Again, Poirier would get his arm raised after McGregor's ankle broke at the end of the first round.

Another shot at the UFC title for Dustin Poirier

After three straight victories, Poirier earned a second shot at the undisputed lightweight title. With Nurmagomedov now retired, Charles Oliveira had claimed the championship. The two fought at UFC 269. Again, Poirier would be submitted and forced to restart his quest to become champion. While not impossible, Poirier restarted his journey, knowing that it is rare for a UFC fighter to get a third title fight after failing twice before.

Poirier took an 11-month hiatus following his loss to Oliveira but returned at UFC 281, where he submitted former Bellator lightweight champion Michael Chandler, earning fight of the night. After eight months away from action, Poirier returned for a rematch against Gaethje for the BMF title. Gaethje landed a perfect blow and scored a devastating knockout in the second round.

Poirier's career sat at a crossroads. Following the knockout loss, Poirier's road to the title looked bleak. The UFC matchmakers had Poirier fight Benoit Saint Denis at UFC 299. Saint Denis entered the fight, significantly below Poirier in the UFC's lightweight rankings. However, Saint Denis entered the fight as the betting favorite and was seemingly being fast-tracked for a title shot. At UFC 299, Poirier earned fight of the night for a ninth time as he scored a brutal second-round knockout.

Despite his performance at UFC 299, it was unlikely that Poirier would get the next lightweight title fight. It was expected the next title challenge for lightweight Islam Makhachev would be determined in the two main card lightweight fights. It looked like Poirier would be watching from the sidelines. But then everything broke in Poirier's favor.

In the first lightweight fight on the main card, Oliviera, the former champion was upset by Arman Tsarukyan. The fight was billed as a title eliminator which would have meant Tsarukyan would get the next title fight. However, Tsarukyan eliminated his hopes of getting the next title fight after he appeared to strike a fan while making his walkout.

In the second lightweight fight on the UFC 300 main card, Gaethje defended the BMF belt against Holloway. Had Gaethje won, he would have immediately gotten the title shot. Holloway scored a last-second knockout to beat Gaethje. While Holloway had moved up from featherweight to fight Gaethje, he had not committed to continuing to fight at lightweight. After Ilia Topuria knocked out Alex Volkanovski at UFC 298 to become the featherweight champion, Holloway was no longer blocked from fighting for the featherweight title again.

With everything breaking right, Poirier agreed to fight Makhachev at UFC 302. At 35, Poirier knows this will be his final chance at becoming an undisputed champion. A victory will be the exclamation point on a 15-year journey that he has been on. While losing could be the period ending a future Hall of Fame career.


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