Opening Round: Time to Let “The Diamond” Shine

Last weekend, featherweight Dustin Poirier cemented his place in the discussion for top contendership rights in the division by taking out previously unbeaten Max Holloway with a Submission of the Night finish in the opening round of their bout at UFC 143: Diaz vs. Condit. However, when Poirier was asked after the fight about facing champion Jose Aldo he seemed more interested in letting someone else have the opportunity rather than rush into a fight of such epic proportions.

Poirier’s humility is unique, especially in an industry like MMA where some fighters will stoop to any means necessary in order to score a coveted crack at UFC gold. It’s also well-placed.

As talented as the 23-year old is he isn’t quite ready for Aldo. His wins have been impressive without question but also involved unproven opponents like Holloway, Pablo Garza, and Jason Young. Poirier’s victory over Josh Grispi was unquestionably brilliant but also came at the start of a rough patch for “The Fluke” both personally and professionally. There are a number of solid opponents for Poirier to prove himself against while also refining his skills to a point his odds of success against Aldo have improved.

Think of the 145ers out there Poirier hasn’t faced who would likely serve as significant challenges – Mark Hominick, Chan Sung Jung, Diego Nunes, Ross Pearson, Chad Mendes, and so many more. When looking at that lineup, not to mention the other handful of guys who could easily be included in the bunch, it’s easy to see Poirier’s accomplishments are nice but not quite at the level they need to be in order to take out someone of Aldo’s ilk.

Fortunately, Poirier knows that as well and is willing to wait. He’s already called out Jung specifically and I for one would love to see them go at it. They’re both good grapplers with solid stand-up, more so in the case of Poirier as far as striking goes, and would undoubtedly put on an entertaining show. With Poirier healthy after the Holloway win and Jung good to go as well after a quick knockout of Hominick at UFC 140 there’s also no reason the two of them can’t face off in a few months. Meanwhile, Aldo will have his hands full with Hatsu Hioki if he gets by Bart Palaszewski later this month (or possibly “Bartimus” if  things go the other way).

Sometimes faster isn’t better and in Poirier’s case it appears he’s got the right idea in mind. Now if only his bosses at the UFC will follow suit…

What do you think about the subject on today’s “Opening Round”? Tell us on our Twitter account (@mmatraining)!

PHOTO CREDIT – UFC

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