SPORTS

After Conor McGregor loss, Dustin Poirier looks to rediscover fun in fighting

04/01/2015 03:24 EDT | Updated 06/01/2015 05:59 EDT
After being twisted into a mental knot by abrasive Irish featherweight (The Notorious) Conor McGregor last time out, Dustin (The Diamond) Poirier looks to rediscover the fun in fighting.

Poirier, moving up to lightweight, takes on Brazilian Diego Ferreira (10-1) on Saturday on a televised UFC card in Fairfax, Va.

Chad (Money) Mendes, ranked No. 1 among featherweight contenders, takes on No. 4 Ricardo (The Bully) Lamas in the main event at the Patriot Center. The card includes a lightweight bout between Mitch (Danger Zone) Clarke, a Saskatoon native who fights out of Edmonton, and Michael Chiesa.

The 26-year-old Poirier returns somewhat under the radar, unlike his high-profile matchup with McGregor at UFC 178 last September.

The smack-filled buildup to the Poirier-McGregor bout stole the UFC 178 show. The endless talk put Poirier, who always wears his heart on his sleeve, on edge despite his best efforts to turn the other cheek.

"Every time I'd see the guy my blood would be boiling," Poirier acknowledged. "I just wanted to tackle him and beat him up."

Losing via TKO after 106 seconds rubbed salt in the wound.

While Poirier (16-4) picked up the pieces, McGregor went on to dispatch Dennis Siver and earn a July 11 title shot with featherweight champion Jose Aldo. The Aldo-McGregor trash-talking has spanned three continents on a recently concluded promotional tour that included a stop in Toronto.

Time heals everything, says Poirier. But maybe not when it comes to McGregor.

"He's a great athlete and a hell of a fighter. But he's a douche bag, he's a jerk."

While a painful loss, Poirier sees the McGregor fight as a learning experience. Keeping emotions in check and not overthinking things are two key takeaways.

"This is a small setback for me. But I'm a better fighter because of it."

Not having to make 145 pounds has added to the enjoyment of his training camp.

"I've had some great fights at 145 but that weight cut was hurting me more than it was helping me," said Poirier, a Louisiana native who fights out of Florida.

A move back to 155 was always in the cards but Poirier, who was remained in the featherweight rankings at No. 6 this week, was hoping to rise up the 145-pound ranks for a title shot.

"After my last fight, it looked like it would probably be a long road back to the title and i didn't know if I had that many weight cuts left in me at that weight.

"I can make the weight. It's just performing and enjoying my job."

Poirier still has to cut weight. He posted a demonstration on Vine, showing him stepping on the scales at 180 pounds and says he has been as heavy as 186 between fights.

Texas-based Ferreira, a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, is 2-1 in the UFC with wins over Colton Smith and Ramsey Nijem and a loss to Beneil Dariush.

Asked what he knows about Ferreira, Poirier pauses before answering: "I know he's going to get beat up April 4."

"Beside that, he has decent jiu-jitsu. Not decent, he has good jiu-jitsu," he added. "But I'm going to turn this into a fight and keep it a fight. It's not a jiu-jitsu competition. I'm a better fighter.'

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