Islam Makhachev: “Dustin Poirier Doesn’t Believe He Can Win”

“Poirier is the same, just older,” says Makhachev.

Islam Makhachev is confident that Dustin Poirier and his team doubt their chances of victory at UFC 302. As the fight approaches, Makhachev remains unimpressed by Poirier’s development since his bout with Khabib Nurmagomedov in 2019, seeing him as largely unchanged but five years older.

Pre-Fight Comments

During the UFC 302 media day, Makhachev made his stance clear:

“Honestly, he is the same. He is just older. He doesn’t believe he can beat me. Not even his coach believes he can beat me. I know I can make this fight easy.”

Coming off a busy 2023, where he faced Alexander Volkanovski twice, Makhachev feels prepared and superior in both strategy and skill:

“I can fight him standing, but if I want to make this fight easy, I know the way and everyone else knows the way. When his opponents pressure him and take him down, he always has the same problem. My style is the worst style for him. He can beat some strikers. He is one of the best strikers, but we are not strikers. We are MMA fighters. My skills are on another level.”


The Khabib Factor

A significant advantage for Makhachev is having his mentor, Khabib Nurmagomedov, back in his corner:

“This means a lot. It’s like adding 20 percent to striking, 20 percent to wrestling, to the game plan.”

Since Khabib’s retirement in 2020, Makhachev has stepped into the spotlight, most recently defeating Alexander Volkanovski with a head kick and follow-up punches at UFC 294. Poirier, with nine wins in his last twelve fights, recently knocked out Benoit Saint-Denis at UFC 299.

Despite his confidence, Makhachev must not underestimate Poirier, who holds notable victories over Conor McGregor, Max Holloway, and Justin Gaethje. Overlooking Poirier’s skill and experience could be a critical mistake.

UFC 302 Fight Card

UFC 302 will take place on June 1, 2024, at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. The event features a strong lineup:

Main Card

  • Islam Makhachev (c) vs. Dustin Poirier for the UFC lightweight title
  • Sean Strickland vs. Paulo Costa, middleweights
  • Kevin Holland vs. Michal Oleksiejczuk, middleweights
  • Randy Brown vs. Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos, welterweights
  • Jailton Almeida vs. Alexander Romanov, heavyweights


  • Roman Kopylov vs. Cesar Almeida, middleweights
  • Grant Dawson vs. Joe Solecki, lightweights
  • Jake Matthews vs. Philip Rowe, welterweights
  • Alex Morono vs. Niko Price, welterweights

Early Prelims

  • Bassil Hafez vs. Mickey Gall, welterweights
  • Ailin Perez vs. Joselyne Edwards, bantamweights
  • Hyun Sung Park vs. Andre Lima, flyweights
  • Su Mudaerji vs. Joshua Van, flyweights


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