Dustin Poirier compares and contrasts UFC 302 foe Islam Makhachev and former rival Khabib Nurmagomedov

Dustin Poirier sees distinct similarities and differences between former foe Khabib Nurmagomedov and UFC 302 adversary Islam Makhachev.

Dustin Poirier, Islam Makhachev, Khabib Nurmagomedov

Poirier will hope that the ‘third time’s the charm’ when he faces the lightweight titleholder Makhachev in the UFC 302 main event on June 1. He returns for his third career lineal lightweight title shot and is hoping to finally reach the pinnacle of the division.

Poirier is riding a lot of momentum after a knockout win over Benoît Saint-Denis at UFC 299. Arman Tsarukyan was expected to be the next title challenger after winning at UFC 300 but declined the title shot due to unideal timing.

Poirier will face Nurmagomedov’s star pupil, Makhachev, for a shot at UFC gold. He lost to Nurmagomedov at UFC 242 after winning the interim belt against Max Holloway.

Makhachev and Nurmagomedov are close friends, allies, and training partners. Poirier feels some tendencies make Makhachev a potentially tougher test than Nurmagomedov.

Dustin Poirier: Islam Makhachev ‘more versatile’ than Khabib

In a recent appearance on The MMA Hour, Poirier compared Makhachev and Nurmagomedov’s skillsets.

“[Islam’s] submission game, Jiu-Jitsu wise, is a bit more versatile than Khabib’s was,” Poirier said of Makhachev. “Khabib had some chokes that he did really well, but Islam’s put himself in bad positions, going for armbars, maybe he loses a position but he uses his wrestling to get it back. [Islam’s] a bit more of a threat Jiu-Jitsu wise in scrambles, and his striking is better than Khabib.”

Nurmagomedov entered the UFC Hall of Fame after a legendary 29-0 run inside the cage. He was known for his tenacity, elite wrestling, and vicious ground-and-pound.

Makhachev possesses similar skills but has proven to be a sniper on the feet. He most recently knocked out Alexander Volkanovski with a head kick at UFC 294.

Poirier knows the tall task that is in front of him but plans on overcoming the odds and wrapping the undisputed title around his waist. As he enters the heat of training camp, he’s keeping his experience against Nurmagomedov on his mind, while also recognizing Makhachev’s unique toolbox.

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