The lightweight contender admits that there has been some negativity surrounding the bout because an interim title is on the line, but Poirier is doing his best to block it all out.
“It’s here and it’s happening,” Poirier said to MMA Weekly. “I couldn’t be more happy. I know people are saying it’s an interim title and ‘where’s Tony [Ferguson]?’ all this and that. People are going to say negative stuff no matter what you do. Somebody could watch you walk on water and say you can’t swim, that’s why you’re doing it. People want to act negative. People want to say s—t like that.”
Whomever walks away victorious on Saturday Night is expected to fight UFC Lightweight Champion Khabib Nurmagomedov in a title unification bout later this year.
Interim championship or not, one thing that Poirier says he’ll be after UFC 236 is a world champion.
“To me, April 13, when I’m in the Octagon and Dana [White] puts the belt on me, this is going to be 12 years of sacrifice, 12 years of clawing back, 12 years of proving people wrong,” Poirier said. “So much work has been done and so much work still has to be done before this goal is a reality but this isn’t an interim title to me. When that gold touches my skin, that’s real to me, I am a world champion.”
UFC 236 takes place on Saturday, April 13 from the State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia with Max Holloway and Dustin Poirier headlining. Fightful is providing live coverage of the event, with a post-show podcast to follow.