The lightweight contender is thrilled for the title opportunity, but isn’t quite sure about how it all came together.
“I’m not sure (how this happened),” Poirier told MMA Junkie. “I don’t know. I don’t make the decisions. I don’t even know what happened. Honestly, these last few months I’ve been kept in the dark, really. I’ve been here seven weeks now in South Florida at my spot training. Not in a training camp preparing for anything, but just learning and staying on the mats. I just felt like something big was coming, and I decided to stay here. Good thing I did because I got the call for this one.”
Poirier does hold a victory over Holloway, which came via first round submission at UFC 143 in February of 2012.
Despite winning their first encounter, one thing Poirier readily admits is that he and Holloway are very different fighters when compared to that first bout.
“We’re both completely different people,” Poirier said. “We’re both men now. By the time we fight it’s going to be over seven years since we first fought. We were both kids. Seven years fighting in the top organization in the world is a lifetime. There’s lot of guys out there who wish they could’ve fought at this level for seven years. We’re relatively both still young. I think we’re going to come into this fight over 40 fights of UFC experience between the two of us. This is going to be a very high-level fight. This guy is an established world champion – defending, reigning world champion. I have a lot of respect for the guy. But I beat him once when we were kids. This is a completely different fight, but I’m confident I can do it again. I’m excited it’s at this time in his career. He’s hit a great stride, he’s defending his belt, and people are talking about how great his striking is and his overall game. He just had a beautiful performance against Brian Ortega. People expect that performance out of him every time, and it will really give me an opportunity and a stage to show what I’m capable of, and I’m just excited to show everybody how good I am. On the highest level, on the highest stage, with the most eyes watching, I’m going to show everyone how great I am.”
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.