Dustin Poirier and Michael Chandler put on an instant classic at UFC 281. The bout was two sided and exciting at all times. But after all was said and done the brunt of attention went to Chandler’s dirty moves and his blatant denial that he was consciously trying to bend the rules.
But another moment stands out. Prior to the fish hooking attempt, Poirier found himself in deep water with Chandler having the back mount. At that time, Poirier was haunted by the harsh words Islam Makhachev directed to him prior to the event.
“But this guy have grappling skill, that’s why. All these [other guys who Oliveira has faced] Chandler, Gaethje, Poirier… All these guy have nothing [no grappling skills]. On the ground, I don’t think [so]…”
Then, Cormier stressed Poirier’s black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Makhachev seemed unconcerned, though:
“Please, brother… So what he did when he [Ferguson] catch his arm, he go to do, what is this brother? [Granby roll]…”
“Black belt. Who give him that? We have to check that brother.”
“And we have to cancel many black belts [because] they make Jiu-Jitsu look bad. Because a lot of guys have black belt but I don’t know [if they have the skills].”
Poirier dismissed the comment as an insult coming into UFC 281.
“It’s definitely an insult, But it is what it is”.
But it all came to a head when Chandler was riding on his back to the point where Poirier had heard the tunes of the infamous ‘Sound of Silence’ song.
“I’m just trying to fight the hands and defend properly. But of course, I’m thinking ‘Not again!’ I’m like, ‘hello, darkness. My old friend’.”
Later on, Poirier explained that he tightened up his choke defense having lost two title shots due to rear naked chokes:
“It’s just getting choked by rear naked choke in two world title fights will make you tuck your chin a little bit tighter next time you’re in that position. That’s what it is. You know, living and learning and getting back to the gym and working on my defense with Mike Brown and.”