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Dustin Poirier’s Next Fight: Why Oliveira is a Worthy Rival

Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

On Saturday, Dustin “The Diamond” Poirier is getting another shot at the UFC Lightweight Championship. Standing in his way is current champ Charles “do Bronx” Oliveira, who is defending his title for the first time following his championship win at UFC 262 in May. These men are the two highest-ranked lightweight MMA fighters in the world and both are at the top of their game, so this is not a matchup that any fan will want to miss.

Dustin Poirier versus Charles Oliveira is a fight that’s been long in the making. Despite being the top-ranked fighters on the UFC lightweight roster, UFC 269 will mark the first time the two meet in the Octagon. That’s largely due to the fact that the lightweight division is absolutely stacked with talent and is easily one of the most top-heavy weight classes in the UFC. Another reason is that Poirier has been preoccupied of late with his rivalry with Conor McGregor, which is on hiatus now following Poirier’s back-to-back wins and “The Notorious” suffering a nasty leg break in the first round of their recent trilogy bout.

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With the McGregor rivalry on hold for now and Poirier vs. McGregor 4 not likely to happen any time before mid-2022, The Diamond is finally free to go after the lightweight championship — a title shot he actually turned down in favor of his recent trilogy fight with McGregor at UFC 264 in July. This will be Poirier’s second proper title shot after his unsuccessful challenge against then-champion Khabib Nurmagomedov in 2019 (although Poirier did hold an interim lightweight title that year). Before that, Poirier had not lost a fight since 2016.

Dustin Poirier’s rise through the lightweight ranks has been impressive, but his opponent this Saturday is no pushover. Charles Oliveira has been on a tear in recent years, even if he’s remained somewhat of a sleeper talent in a division where high-profile fighters like Khabib and McGregor typically draw the spotlight. Do Bronx has racked up a string of nine wins since 2018, a run that culminated in him clinching the vacant lightweight championship at UFC 262 this year. That crown is going to feel heavy, though, with so much top talent gunning for it — after all, Oliveira’s first title challenger happens to be the top-ranked fighter on the lightweight roster, sitting right under the champion himself.

Oliveira has visibly improved as a fighter over the past few years and is no doubt a worthy champion, so it’s not likely that he’ll prove an easy victory for Poirier (even if the Cajun is currently the slight favorite to win). If you want to tune in and watch UFC 269 online so you can witness for yourself whether Poirier or Oliveira walks out of the Octagon with the gold around his waist, however, then you’ll need to sign up for ESPN+ and grab the pay-per-view. The main card begins at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.

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