How Good is Dustin Poirier on The Ground?

This weekend marks not one, but two momentous occasions. It’s the UFC’s debut in Abu Dhabi with UFC 242, but also the return of the most terrifying man in combat sports, Khabib Nurmagomedov. He meets the perpetually under-rated Dustin Poirier in a Lightweight Title Unification bout, the main event that is all but guaranteed to produce a classic fight.

Poirier has always been regarded as a good striker, but he showed just how good he is in his last outing against Featherweight champion Max Holloway. He picked apart one of the best volume-strikers in the sport today and made it look relatively easy as he cruised to a unanimous decision.

The Question at Hand

Striking skills don’t matter when you’re standing across the cage from the most aggressive chain-wrestler in MMA history. It’s a foregone conclusion that Khabib is going to take him down, the main thing Poirier has to worry about is if that takedown signals the last time he’ll be on his feet for the round. As Edson Barboza will tell you, getting up isn’t so easy when you’ve got a Dagestani Sambo World Champion on top of you.

Poirier is no slouch on the floor though, he was awarded his black belt in BJJ back in 2017 courtesy of UFC veteran and submission artist, Tim Credeur. That belt isn’t just for show though, he’s put those skills to good use over the years by racking up 7 submission finishes along the way. He’s also only tapped once in competition, at the tender young age of 23 when the Korean Zombie had to chain together what felt like endless submission attempts to finally catch him.

The Truth Behind it

The short answer is, Dustin Poirier is a great athlete and he’s got the skills on the ground to give anyone trouble. But Khabib’s shown time and time again that it doesn’t matter if you’re a BJJ black belt, an NCAA wrestler or a phenomenal distance-striker. He’s going to close the distance, he’s going to get the takedown, then he’s going to hold you down and beat the life out of you.

The real answer is one we’ll find out as soon as Dustin Poirier gets put on his back. It’ll be painfully obvious that it doesn’t matter how good he is, he’s staying there.

Alex Lindsey

Alex Lindsey is the managing editor here at Grappling Insider. Originally starting training in MMA in 2008, injuries and university slowed progress until he decided to put on a gi for the first time back in 2015.

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