Dustin Poirier Explains Why He Agreed To Fight Benoit Saint Denis At UFC 299

Dustin Poirier has explained why he agreed to a UFC 299 co-main event fight against rising lightweight star Benoit Saint Denis, despite appearing to have initially been looking for a higher-profile opponent for his next fight.

“In my head, I was kind of like, ‘Maybe a legacy fight’. Maybe an RDA. Maybe another former champion. I don’t know, just something,’” Poirier said on ‘The MMA Hour’ about his initial hopes for his next fight. “I thought the offer in the UFC would be something more like that. I needed something to get me up in the morning.”

The 35-year-old Poirier had actually been in the arena watching when the 28-year-old Saint Denis last fought, but despite the Frenchman making a statement with a 1st round head kick KO of Matt Frevola, ‘The Diamond’ didn’t initially see him as a viable opponent at this stage.

“In my head, I was sitting there in the chair cageside like, ‘No way that’s happening. This guy has some work to do,” Porier recalls.

At the time Poirier reveals that there was talks with the UFC brass about appearing on the UFC 300 event, before eventually picking UFC 299 instead.

“I was talking with [UFC Executive] Hunter [Campbell], and we were like, maybe the opening of the [UFC 300] pay-per-view, maybe the second fight of the pay-per-view,” Poirier said. “And then [UFC 299] we started talking about, and to be the co-main event, [and] I’m like, that’s a much bigger slot. It’s close to my training camp, it’s close to home. … So just I wanted to be part of 300, but this just made more sense, I think.”

And as for who he would be fighting, while he was initially dismissive of the idea of fighting BSD, he’s since warmed up to the idea.

“I respect this sport, and I honor this sport, and I’m 35 years old now. This guy is a young, hungry lion who is on a streak. I think he finished five fights in a row. Somebody gave me my shot to crack in, so I respect the game. That’s what I’m doing. Let’s see if I still [can do it]. March 9, buy the pay-per-view and we’ll see. We’ll find out.”

Poirier also said it was his call to have the fight contested over five rounds.

“You know that meme with the dog looking in the mirror and he’s like me checking if I still got that dog in me,” Poirier said. “Five rounds, March 9. … I told them, ‘I’ll fight the guy but let’s do it five rounds.’ … Because I feel like the better fighter, unless something happens early, the better fighter wins over five rounds.”

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