Dustin Poirier: I was focused on Joe Duffy
No one is more disappointed when a fight gets canceled than the fighters who miss out on the chance to get paid, do what they love and make sure all their hard work during training camp wasn’t in vain. For those reasons, and many more, Dustin Poirier was crushed when his scheduled opponent for Saturday’s UFC card in Dublin, Joseph Duffy, pulled out because he had sustained a concussion in training.
Already riding a two-fight win streak, Poirier believed an impressive win over Duffy would help him get ranked in the lightweight division’s top-10 before 2016. Now, that goal seems a lot harder to reach.
"Yeah, I had a goal of cracking the top 10 by the end of this year. I feel that goal is still attainable," he told Jonathan Shrager in the wee hours, shortly after he got word of Duffy’s removal.
"Other things could happen. Fights could move around. Maybe I’ll fight him before the year’s up, I don’t know. But, a win over Joe Duffy, I’m certain would have done that. Not that he’s ranked higher, or anything, it’s just that the expectations that people have on him, and me putting three wins in a row together, with the performance it would have been, I would have been in the top 10."
The UFC offered Norman Parke — who is already on the card — the fight with Poirier. The Northern Ireland warrior eagerly accepted the challenge of fighting the surging American, as he himself has currently lost two straight.
After a lot of thought, Poirier and his American Top Team coaches decided against fighting a new opponent with virtually no notice. Poirier could understand why Parke took the fight, but went on to explain why he did not.
"Of course he would. It’s a bigger fight for him," he said of Parke.
"I can beat Norman Parke. It’s a completely different style. Joe Duffy comes forward, brings the fight, looks to finish. Norman Parke looks to grab your legs and put you against the fence, and make it boring. I don’t want to be part of those kinds of fights."
Poirier reminded the world that only the fighters themselves know what it’s like to be in the tough spot he was placed in, to no fault of his own. "I’ve seen a lot of fans … and other fighters have come out [and criticized me] but man, shut the hell up," he said.
"Do what you do. This is me. I’m the one that has to get in there."
Making seismic changes to a fight on short notice was not worth it for Poirier, and even if the UFC had offered him, say $100,000 extra to fight Parke, he’s not sure what he would have done. "I don’t know, man. [I] probably [would have taken it]," he pondered.
"I was in a weird spot last night, but that’s a lot of money. It would have had to happen for me to really be sure."
In the end, Poirier is hopeful that he and Duffy will get rescheduled to fight one another. In fact, he said that UFC officials have told him that they may have a date in mind.
"This is the thing that me and my coaches did last night. We sat back, we were going back and forth, back and forth, ‘maybe we’ll do it, let’s talk about it more.’ ‘Maybe we’ll do it, let’s talk about it more.’ [Coach] Mike Brown said, ‘if you feel uncertainty one bit, don’t do it. You don’t have to. There’s no reason,’" he remembered.
"Like I said, I was just so focused on the Duffy fight that, I don’t know, it just flipped me around, man … but like I said, hopefully we get rescheduled for Jan. 2."