Former UFC interim lightweight champion Dustin Poirier appeared recently on The Ariel Helwani show, and explained how the loss to Conor McGregor in 2014 elevated him. "The Diamond" is 6-1 (1 NC) over the past three years, winning five Fight of the Nights in the process. At 31 and coming off a Fight of the Year contender vs. Dan Hooker in the main event of UFC on ESPN 12, Poirier is at the height of his power.
“It definitely started happening after the Conor McGregor loss,” said Poirier, as transcribed by Jed Meshew for MMA Fighting. “That was the start of it. It’s been a long process, being a father, losing again, winning some and losing again, and winning another one. It’s just a long evolution of stop caring so much. You just stop caring about the noise and stuff that doesn’t matter. . .
“A lot of times in my younger career, I felt like it was life or death. Every comment on Instagram and Twitter, every journalist who said something, I felt like everybody was against me. I felt like if I lost I would be written off, it’s the end of my career. I’m a bum if I lose this fight. And then you lose a few times and you’re like, ‘Oh s***, I can still put this back together. Oh man, I’m still providing for my family. I’m still loving what I do.’ It’s like you’ve been bent but not broken a lot of times and I feel like it made me stronger and it made me the man I am today. I’m happy. I’m genuinely happy.”
“I’m gonna take some time for sure to let my body heal. Next week I’m taking my family on a small vacation, just right here to Florida, nothing crazy. Just get some sun, get some beach time, and just relax. Let my mind relax, and we’ll see. I’m definitely not gonna fight back far. I think they just moved me up in the rankings now. Of course, I want to be the undisputed world champion but we’ll see when the UFC calls me, we’ll see what happens. Money talks.”
"I don’t know how many fights I have left. I still feel young, I still feel great, fresh, and I love what I do, but I do not want to continue for another five years, fighting fights like I just fought, because I don’t want to love this so much that it kills me. I use that word lightly. Not that I’m gonna die in there, I mean that it’s gonna take something that I can’t get back. Not only from me but for the ones that I love. I want to be there for my daughter forever. I want to be there for my wife. I don’t want to start fading away, mentally or anything like that. And I just know that’s a reality in what we do, in combat sports. I don’t beat around the bush, I know that’s a possibility and I know that what I’m doing isn’t good for myself.”
“I feel like I’m the best in the world. I made mistakes and I got beaten by Khabib, but I know that I can beat Khabib Nurmagomedov. I know I can. I can beat anyone of these guys. . . I don’t want to get anyone back. I’m not in the grudge match business. I want to be the best in the world. I want to be the undisputed world champion.”