My Favourite Fighter: Dustin “Diamond” Poirier
By Sandi Martin
Long before he was set to fight Max Holloway for the UFC lightweight Interim title, Dustin Poirier was a local MMA star in the making training under Tim Credeur at Gladiators Academy in Lafayette, Louisiana, about an hour outside of my home in Baton Rouge.
In 2011 a documentary called Fightville premiered too much acclaim and his life as a fighter would never be the same. He also gained a spot at the top of my favourite fighters list by the time he was signed by the WEC, despite being handed his first ever loss against Danny Castillo in that debut with his new promotion.
People often ask me why he’s my favourite fighter and its a simple question to answer. It’s because he earned that spot the same way he earned his upcoming title shot; fight by fight, the old-fashioned way.
Just as you typically root for the home team in other sports, I pay extra attention to fighters from Louisiana, but I always knew Poirier was special and destined for greatness, especially once I saw Fightville.
He’s not just an exciting fighter and a hometown legend, he’s a grinder. He came up the ranks the hard way and his fighting style reflects that. You can tell a lot about a person by how they handle losses and setbacks and Dustin is always classy and humble.
Learning, growing and evolving with each fight, win or lose, is just his way.
There aren’t a ton of fighters on the UFC roster that are as well-rounded as Poirier in my opinion. He can beat you a lot of different ways, although he’s mostly known for his boxing and powerful punches, his ground game is underrated and will most likely be the reason he beats Max Holloway for the lightweight title.
Training at American Top Team in Coconut Creek, Florida has certainly helped propel his evolution in all areas. If you want to be great you must learn from those greater than you and ATT is packed full of killer talent like Jorge Masvidal and Edson Barboza for example.
Training with a group of elite pros like the fighters at ATT didn’t make Poirier forget his Louisiana roots and he still calls Lafayette home despite splitting his time between there and the ATT gym in Coconut Creek. He auctions off his fight kits for his own charity, The Good Fight, that is dedicated to improving the lives of the people, especially the children, of Lafayette and surrounding areas.
;Poirier will walk into the cage to face Holloway as an underdog, a position he’s used to being in, despite his recent victories over former champs Eddie Alvarez and Anthony Pettis, despite his 24-5-0 record, despite the fact that he’s fighting a guy from a lower weight class. Dustin Poirier actually prefers to be in a position that allows him to shock the world… and I believe he will.