Dustin Poirier feels like a new fighter. He’s looked like one, too, since moving back to 155 pounds.
“The Diamond” said he is simply having fun again.
“I feel more athletic, explosive and powerful. I’m happy I made the move,” Poirier said Tuesday in an interview with UFC.com ahead of his Oct. 24 main event fight against Joe Duffy.
Fighting wasn’t so fun for Poirier back in late 2014. After a run of three straight wins at featherweight, he ran into rising Irish sensation Conor McGregor, who finished him in the first round at UFC 178.
Poirier decided to bump up to the 155-pound division shortly after the setback against McGregor and the results have been reassuring: two fights, two first-round knockouts.
Duffy is the last man to defeat McGregor. The Irish product is on a two-fight win streak in the UFC and has the advantage of headlining a card in his homeland.
Fans may wonder if Poirier has extra motivation to beat Duffy after what his countryman did to “The Diamond” back at UFC 178. But Poirier insists that now is a different time and a different fight.
“This has nothing to do with McGregor,” Poirier said. “This is a whole new fight and I’m at a completely different place in my career.”
No longer does Poirier have to deal with the stress of extensive weight cuts. He said the training process leading up to the fight was unenjoyable at 145, and he felt foggy with his reaction times after not hydrating properly.
Now Poirier feels free. And the bout with Duffy should send either winner up the lightweight ranks and closer to a No. 1 contender fight.
“Duffy’s a pressure fighter. I can’t let him bully me around,” Poirier said. “I’ve been working a lot on my boxing and wrestling and feel like this will be one my most complete performances.”
Poirier said he’s thinking a lot about the beginning of the fight and he’ll attack whatever is open.
Watch Fight Night Dublin on Oct. 24 exclusively on UFC FIGHT PASS.
Jon Gagnon is a digital producer and writer for UFC.com Follow him on Twitter at @jgagnonUFC