Dustin Poirier’s long journey to the top is almost complete.
The American Top Team competitor, who has been in the big leagues since joining the WEC in 2010, scored the biggest victory of his career on Saturday night, besting former UFC and WEC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis in the main event of UFC Norfolk.
The time of the finish in what was a fantastic fight was 2:08 of the third round, as Pettis tapped due to what appeared to be a rib injury.
“Everyone points the finger and says I slip up in big fights,” Poirier said. “But that’s two champions in a row I just beat, so what’s up?”
The first round was a fun one, with both fighters having their moments. Pettis showed flashes of the speed and agility he displayed in his prime; while Poirier showed off the blunt force that’s become his hallmark.
The second round was an incredible display of back-and-forth mat wrestling. As the action on the canvas went back and forth, Poirier opened wicked cuts all over Pettis’ face. Pettis would go for submission attempts, just to have Poirier use the mix of blood and sweat to slither out.
Timeout was called late in the round as the doctor checked out Pettis’ cuts. He continued, and lasted through the to the horn. But Poirier continued to pour it on in the third and appeared to be going for a head-and-arm choke when Pettis suddenly tapped after turning over, indicating an injury in his midsection.
“It was kind of weird, I thought maybe I was going to get the head-arm choke, and maybe get the rear naked,” Poirier said. “I know he was hurt and he was bleeding a lot.”
Minus a controversial no-contest against Eddie Alvarez, Poirier has won two straight and six of seven. He made it clear he wants a piece of the winner of the upcoming Alvarez-Gaethje fight next.
“I’m going to tell you right now who I’m going to fight,” Poirier said. “I’m going to fight the winner of Justin Gaethje and Eddie Alvarez, and then I’m going to fight for the belt.”
Pettis (20-7) lost for the second time in his past three fights and is 2-4 in his past six.