His initial win streak of 4 fights - which included a win over Max Holloway - was stopped by Chan Sung Jung, and two subsequent winning streaks were snapped by Conor McGregor and Michael Johnson.
In a clash of lightweight bangers that somehow exceeded lofty expectations, Poirier rocked Gaethje with a left hand before swarming him with punches to secure a stunning TKO in the fourth round of UFC on FOX 29's main event in Glendale, Ariz. on Saturday. He was forced to walk through hell in order to get there in a fight that was contested on Gaethje's terms when it comes to pace and distance.
We all know how proficient Gaethje can be with his leg-kicks and after a while, the sheer number of them he landed was a real factor but after a gruelling opening three rounds, Poirier landed a hard shot clean on the chin of his opponent before flurrying and forcing referee Herb Dean to intervene. The No. 6-ranked Gaethje falls to 18-2.
Round Four: The round begins with Gaethje attacking Poirier with a two punch combination, Poirier rocks a swinging Gaethje with a counter left.More news: IRFU announces the departure of Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding
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Poirier appeared willing to fight on despite the effect it had on his vision and argued with the cageside doctor and referee to continue. "He has no quit in him, and I respect that 100 percent".
Nurmagomedov, who won the title last week with a victory over Al Iaquinta, took note of the performance of both fighters via Twitter, posting "It was a great fight, congratulations both".
"Absolutely", UFC president Dana White said about Poirier being a contender to face Nurmagomedov next.
Either way, Poirier perfectly showcased not only his toughness but his evolution as a fighter both physically and mentally.