Predicting who will have the biggest night at UFC 302

If he can pull off the win, Dustin Poirier could have the best night of his life.
Dustin Poirier
Dustin Poirier / Gabe Ginsberg/GettyImages

UFC 302 will conclude with either Islam Makhachev tying the lightweight title defense record or Dustin “The Diamond” Poirier having a fairytale end to his professional MMA career. The latter is what the fight fans want to see but Makhachev is a sizeable favorite in the fight. Poirier failed to grab the undisputed title in his previous two attempts, against Charles Oliveira and Khabib Nurmagomedov. He had also failed to grab the BMF title, losing to Justin Gaethje via a vicious head-kick knockout at UFC 291.

Fight fans love an underdog story. Therefore, Poirier will have the fans by their side as he will be locked inside the Octagon with a juggernaut like Makhachev on June 1. Despite not winning an undisputed title, Poirier has a stacked resume. He has fought the best fighters across two weight divisions. Even though he was not a success at featherweight, Poirier’s lightweight resume compensates for it.

UFC offers MMA fighters the grandest stage of all. Many fighters at UFC 302 will be looking to make it their night. Most of them will be looking to secure a signature victory and have an impressive callout. However, it will be different for Poirier. Win or lose, UFC 302 would be his night. The Diamond from Lafayette, Louisiana has created a fanbase of his own. The fights with Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor had indeed increased his popularity among casual fans.

However, Poirier’s exciting fighting style and charitable endeavors have made him a favorite of the hardcore fans. He has already begun talking about retirement, aiming to concentrate on being a father and a husband. Talking about retirement is a bad omen for fighters. However, for Poirier, that might not be the case. He had pondered retirement before he fought his last opponent Benoit Saint-Denis at UFC 299 but won the fight via second-round knockout.

Islam Makhachev has been knocked out before and that too by a Southpaw in Adriano Martins. The loss is the sole blemish in Makhachev’s career. Against Poirier, Makhachev will certainly be wary of keeping the fight standing at a boxing range. Nobody can box better than Poirier in the lightweight division. If he stands his ground and throws long combinations, there is a chance he will land one clean on the champion.

The only thing missing in Poirier’s career is the undisputed title. As far as other achievements and remuneration, there is nothing more he has or needs to accomplish. Poirier was counted out on his UFC debut against Josh Grispi but he upset the odds. Poirier doesn’t have much to threaten Makhachev with except for his boxing and a slight reach advantage. Funnily enough, the ‘Paulo Costa Curse’ is something that might help Poirier. No fighter has defended the undisputed title when Paulo Costa was on the undercard.

Dustin Poirier could shock the world at UFC 302

Poirier is expected to lose the fight. At 35, Poirier has to concentrate on other aspects of his life. If he loses the fight, as the betting odds suggest, Poirier will likely put the gloves inside the Octagon and call it a career. His daughter has never been at the venue to witness her father fight. She will be at UFC 302. This hints that Poirier has already determined what’s next for him. The UFC will likely have already made a montage video showing his accomplishments, bidding farewell.

If Poirier wins which is a huge if, it will be the biggest moment of 2024 in MMA. Even though Alex Pereira and Max Holloway had their moments at UFC 300, Poirier winning the title will eclipse that. There is a strong chance he will put his retirement thoughts on hold if he wins the title at UFC 302. A fourth fight with Conor McGregor and a third with Holloway or Justin Gaethje is enticing for the former interim lightweight champion.

Nobody at UFC 302 has the potential to eclipse Poirier’s moment. If he loses, he will likely retire and the news about the PPV will all be about it. On the other hand, if he wins, a similar will be the case but with a broader reach.


Next. 8 of the best UFC knockouts of 2024. 8 of the best UFC knockouts of 2024. dark