They are saying diamonds are shaped underneath strain and maybe no man higher exemplifies that than Dustin Poirier.
Born in Lafayette, Louisiana, Poirier has confronted trials and tribulation all through his total life and now returns to proper the wrongs of his most damaging defeat at UFC 257.
In 2014, ‘The Diamond’ was left slumped on the canvas inside the primary spherical of his fiery featherweight bout in opposition to fellow contender Conor McGregor.
The Irishman had riled his opponent up sufficiently sufficient to make him struggle on pure emotion and wish to take McGregor’s head off.
However since that crushing defeat, the 32-year-old has stopped Justin Gaethje, Eddie Alvarez and Anthony Pettis, even lifting the interim light-weight title after a bruising affair with Max Holloway in 2019.
Though he was finally defeated by the irrepressible Khabib Nurmagomedov within the undisputed world title struggle, Poirier once more confirmed his resilience in a bloody battle with Dan Hooker in June. Then McGregor got here calling.
Poirier is the quantity two ranked contender on the earth at 155lbs and represents a much more harmful problem to the Irishman than in 2014.
For anybody who expects to see a repeat efficiency from McGregor as his final outing within the octagon (a 40-second blowout in opposition to Donald Cerrone) be ready for a shock.
Poirier has misplaced simply two of his 13 fights since that night time in Las Vegas and, at a a lot more healthy weight, packs a far better punch and may take a shot much better.
However for all his exploits contained in the octagon (together with transferring into the highest 10 for many UFC wins with 18) ‘The Diamond’ shines brightest when the lights go off.
As a younger man, he was inquisitive however appreciated a struggle. On the age of 5, he was driving across the neighbourhood in Lafayette with boxing gloves on his handlebars.
Faculty proved to be no assist both, with Poirier being positioned on probation for truancy. By 14, he had spent 4 months between juvenile detention and a military-style boot camp.
He accomplished his freshman American soccer season, however dropped out of highschool quickly after and as an alternative selected to hang around together with his buddies – choosing up odd jobs virtually as steadily as he picked scraps.
On the age of 18, the void in his life was crammed by his newfound love of fight sports activities. He made his UFC debut at 21 and was headlining his personal card on the age of 23.
After the McGregor defeat, he made the transfer to light-weight as American Prime Staff head coach Mike Brown described the brawler as ‘depleted’.
He advised the UFC: “Months out, he was like measuring each portion by the tea spoon. I don’t assume that’s good.
“Shifting up actually modified his sturdiness; he has gotten much more sturdy and issues don’t damage him anymore.”
He additionally turned a father for the primary time as he and spouse Jolie welcomed Parker Noelle to the world in 2016.
As Michael Bisping defined to talkSPORT.com, turning into a guardian can change fighters for the higher.
“Having kids for me, that’s why I obtained into this,” he mentioned. “For some folks, after they have kids, are like ‘properly I’m going to step away from the game now’.
“Pay attention, there are different alternatives in life, however in case you are a fighter and you might be reduce from the material that we’re and you might be within the UFC and doing properly, this is without doubt one of the greatest alternatives it’s important to earn a living.”
However the further duty of being a father and the influence of preventing with out a lot emotion humbled Poirier and allowed him to step up as soon as once more.
Not content material with offering thrilling fights within the UFC and for his household, ‘The Diamond’ auctioned off his fight-worn equipment after the Eddie Alvarez struggle in 2017 and the cash raised supplied 3,000 meals for an area meals financial institution.
Alongside his spouse Jolie, the pair launched the ‘Good Battle Basis’, a non-profit organisation to assist native communities and under-served populations of their house state of Louisiana.
In June, Poirier was named the inaugural winner of the UFC’s ‘Forest Griffin Neighborhood Award’ in recognition of his charitable contributions. After UFC 242, Khabib donated $100,000 (£73,000) to the trigger as properly.
No matter occurs on Saturday night time in Abu Dhabi, McGregor Sports activities and Leisure have already reached out to Poirier’s Basis and pledged to donate $500,000 (£367,000).
Even in case you are probably the most ardent Conor McGregor fan, a win for Dustin Poirier in the principle occasion of UFC 257 would characterize the largest of his profession and a victory for the underdog.
Poirier is an inspiration to hundreds of thousands, not least his daughter Parker Noelle and spouse Jolie, who has needed to struggle for every part he has ever earned within the enterprise.
‘The Diamond’ will hope to shine shiny as soon as once more underneath the lights on the Etihad Area, however actually, he’s already successful.