Streaking UFC lightweight contender Dustin Poirier is giving Max Holloway the utmost respect ahead of their interim lightweight title bout at UFC 236, so much so that he is refusing to even think about a possible title unification bout with reigning champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Speaking to MMA Weekly’s Damon Martin in a recent interview, ‘The Diamond’ hailed Holloway, who is on a whopping thirteen-fight win streak, as one of the greatest pound-for-pound fighters in the world.
“People are saying Max is one of the pound-for-pound best guys right now,” Poirier said ahead of next week’s title bout with the featherweight champ. “He’s been looking incredible. I’ll give it to him. His performances have been looking great. Looks very well-rounded, looks good everywhere, his confidence is high.
“The guy’s the champ. He’s the 145-pound undisputed world champion.”
For those reasons, Poirier is focused on what’s directly ahead of him rather than projecting too far into the future and theorizing about his possible match-up with Khabib.
“I can’t look past this fight and look ahead to the future about unification or the fight with Khabib or whatever is going on in the lightweight division,” Poirier continued. “I can’t think that far. All I can see is April 13. 25 minutes with a very tough opponent. I have my hands full. I can’t disrespect the hustle that I’ve put in and the hustle that it takes to become the interim world champion.
“None of that stuff matters right now. We’ll cross that bridge when we get there. Right now it’s 25 minutes, five rounds with Max Holloway on April 13 to become the interim lightweight world champion and I’ll have a piece of the world title and then we’ll worry about unifying the belts.”
Nurmagomedov, who is undefeated after twenty seven professional fights, has confirmed that he will go on to face the winner of Holloway-Poirier later in the year.
The highly anticipated pay-per-view, which also features a co-headlining interim middleweight title bout between Kelvin Gastelum and Israel Adesanya, takes place next Saturday, April 13 at the State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia.