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Self sufficiency Dustin Poirier doesn’t like people discounting Dan Hooker at UFC on ESPN 12


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Self sufficiency Dustin Poirier doesn’t like people discounting Dan Hooker at UFC on ESPN 12

By Mike Bohn | June 22, 2020 11:20 am Dustin Poirier doesn’t believe Dan Hooker is getting his proper due ahead of Saturday’s UFC on ESPN 12 main event. Poirier (25-6 MMA, 17-5 UFC) is currently the betting favorite to beat Hooker (20-8 MMA, 10-4 UFC) in the lightweight headliner, which takes place at UFC…

Self sufficiency Dustin Poirier doesn’t like people discounting Dan Hooker at UFC on ESPN 12

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Dustin Poirier doesn’t believe Dan Hooker is getting his proper due ahead of Saturday’s UFC on ESPN 12 main event.

Poirier (25-6 MMA, 17-5 UFC) is currently the betting favorite to beat Hooker (20-8 MMA, 10-4 UFC) in the lightweight headliner, which takes place at UFC Apex in Las Vegas and airs on ESPN/ESPN+. He said he’s seen a lot of discussion that he’s going to win in decisive fashion, and although that’s fully his intention, he isn’t fond of the narrative.

“I don’t like that, honestly,” Poirier told MMA Junkie. “This guy is dangerous. This guy is a top opponent a top-five ranked fighter in the UFC for a reason. I don’t look past anybody. This guy is the only thing I’m focused on right now. 25 minutes with Hooker and we’ll see what happens. I don’t like the fact that fans and stuff are just passing him over because this is a dangerous guy I’ve been preparing very seriously for.”

The roles were reversed going into Poirier’s previous fight, which was a lightweight title unification bout with Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 242 in September. Poirier was the sizable underdog going into that fight (which he lost by submission), so he’s experienced both sides of the coin. Of the two, he said he finds this less preferable.

Poirier, No. 4 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMA Junkie MMA lightweight rankings, said he fully understands the situation he’s in going into on fight night. No. 7-ranked Hooker is looking to catapult himself to the top of the division at his expense, and it’s Poirier’s job to prevent that from happening.

The overall goal for Poirier is to climb back to the position he was in going into the Nurmagomedov fight. He’s had more than nine months to figure out how to do that, which included recovery stint following a long overdue hip surgery that happened in October.

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Poirier said the break ultimately proved beneficial, though, because he’d had to overcome some ordeals he hadn’t encountered previously in his career.

“I’ve always just submerged myself in work when I’ve lost before and just drowned everything out with hard work,” Poirier said. “This particular loss was the biggest loss of my career and also I had to get sidelined. I couldn’t just jump back in the gym and drown everything out. I had to think and sit on the couch and just watch everybody else fight. So it was more of just a mental training. I feel mentally stronger.”

For Poirier, Saturday’s fight is an all-business affair. He’s not thinking about the potential stakes of the contest, nor is he paying much mind to Hooker’s talk. Others may not be, but “The Diamond” said he’s giving this contest the respect it deserves and intends to be at his best when he steps in the octagon.

“I’m immune to (trash talk) these days,” Poirier said. “I see some stuff on Twitter whenever MMA media pushes it out as a headline or something, but other than that I don’t look into it or read too much into it. But he’s doing what he’s supposed to do. He better be saying all that stuff. He needs to believe all that stuff too, because next weekend, we gonna find out.”

Dan Hooker, Dustin Poirier, UFC on ESPN 12, News, UFC, Videos

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