Dustin Poirier reveals aspect of Khabib’s game he’s not taking lightly ahead of UFC 242

Dustin Poirier insists he isn’t overlooking Khabib Nurmagomedov’s striking ahead of their eagerly-anticipated showdown at UFC 242.

Fan favourite Poirier will lock horns with the undefeated Russian in the main event of the ninth pay-per-view card of the year, which takes place in Abu Dhabi.

Victory over the Russian will see UFC veteran Poirier unify the lightweight titles and claim the undisputed 155lb crown.

UFC 242’s main event provides one of the most compelling fights of the year so far due to the pair’s respective skill sets.

Nurmagomedov, 30, is renowned for his unparalleled chain wrestling and brutal pressure from the full mount and full guard.

In stark contrast to ‘The Eagle’, Poirier has earned the lion’s share of his victories with his striking, though he does have seven submission wins to his name.

In comparison to Poirier’s striking, Nurmagomedov is somewhat of a novice with his hands, though the disparity in their boxing abilities is largely down to the fact the former began training in the ’Sweet Science’ before switching over to mixed martial arts.

To his credit, Nurmagomedov has shown a marked improvement in his boxing in the last two years, which he showcased in his UFC 223 and UFC 229 victories over Al Iaquinta and Conor McGregor.

I’m approaching this fight like he is a great boxer, like he is a great kick boxer

Dustin Poirier

And the progress he’s made on the feet has earned the respect of ‘The Diamond’.

“I’m approaching this fight like he is a great boxer, like he is a great kickboxer,” the Louisiana native told Express Sport. “I’m not cutting corners anywhere in this preparation.”

Nurmagomedov dropped McGregor with a big overhand in the second round of their grudge match, which he won via fourth-round submission.

Poirier is well aware of the danger of getting clipped by the Dagestani destroyer, saying: “I think when he throws his right hand he’s committed to it. He hurt Conor with it.

“He’s hurt a few guys with it. I think he hurt [Thiago] Tavares with it. He might have a decent right hand, but anybody with four-ounce gloves has a puncher’s chance.”

Both Poirier and Nurmagomedov rely heavily on their forward pressure to dictate the pace and the direction of the fight.

And the pride of Louisiana is expecting a large amount of the bout to take place in the centre of the cage.

“I think a portion of the fight will be in the centre of the Octagon,” said Poirier. “I think he’s going to try to get me again the fence a lot, especially as the fight unfolds and the punches start to be exchanged. I think he’s going to start to do his work in close quarters against the fence.”

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