UFC Featherweight Dustin Poirier (12-2, MMA) is a contender on the rise in one of the UFC's most interesting divisions as of late. He was close to putting himself in the mix at the top of the division until losing to "The Korean Zombie" Chan Sung Jung in his last fight. As expected from a fighter with Dustin's tenacity, he's ready to rebound and make a statement against Jonathan Brookins (13-5, MMA).
Poirier will face Brookins, The Ultimate Fighter season 12 winner, at The Ultimate Fighter's season 16 finale at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas on December 15.
Since his last fight, he's moved on from training with Tim Credeur in his native Louisiana to train with American Top Team in Florida. The switch of training camps has been just what "The Diamond" needed to rise to his next challenge.
"Before my last fight with Chan Sung Jung we we're talking about switching camps, and we just, I was talking to Tim Credeur, my head trainer over in Louisiana, and we were talking about me making the change somewhere and we just didn't do it," Dustin explained. "We decided to stick out the training camp. After that fight I just felt like it was the right thing to do. Before the fight, it was the right thing to do, but it was just, it happened that way."
Knowing he needs a win to put his name back at the top of the division, Poirier said defeating Brookins will be no easy feat.
"He's a tough guy, he's been around awhile, decent wrestler. He's fought some tough guys, he's fought Jose Aldo. He's a grinder he knows how to wear guys down and make the fight in his favor. I'm expecting a good fight. I'm expecting him to walk forward and put me against the fence and I'm going to do what I do."
While Poirier may be his own harshest critic of his last loss, he also said he's grown from it and knows what he needs to adjust for future fights.
"I need to stick to the gameplan and go after people when I have them hurt. I learned a lot of things, probably too many to even list. That was a great fight for my career. I feel like I'm only going to grow from it. It sucks to have a loss on my record that I'm going to have forever, but I'm trying to take the positive out of it and I learned a lot."
"Everything happens for a reason and I'm definitely going to be there fighting for the title one day, but right now its one fight at time," said Poirier.
So far this year, Poirier's said he's been lucky to avoid ever being too hurt to fight. He attributes that to training smart and eating healthy. While he can't put a finger on the reasons why other guys get injured, he knows that in the UFC losing out on any opportunity can be a detriment at this level.
"This is a busy sport man. Things change overnight. Things change with the snap of the fingers. Nothing's for sure in this sport until you're in there and the cage is locked really. You win one fight, you're fighting for the title if you finish a guy with a big name. If you lose one, you're back at the bottom of the list. You lose two, you're out. This is a crazy sport man, you just have to stay on top of your game."
The Ultimate Fighter 16 season finale will take place on Dec 15 at the Joint in the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. It will air on FX at 9pm ET/PT and will be headlined by a heavyweight bout between Roy Nelson and Matt Mitrione.
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