Islam Makhachev and Dustin Poirier Had to Be Separated After Heated Exchange at UFC 302 Pre-Fight Press Talk

Islam Makhachev and Dustin Poirier (Via UFC)

What began as a friendly rivalry for UFC 302’s main event escalated into a heated confrontation as Islam Makhachev and Dustin Poirier had to be separated after an intense exchange following the pre-fight press conference on Thursday.

Initially, the lightweights engaged in a stoic staredown, but tensions rose when Makhachev leaned in to say something, prompting a response from former interim lightweight champion Poirier.

Soon, Makhachev and Poirier were exchanging heated words, with UFC play-by-play commentator Jon Anik standing between them to keep the peace.

At one point, Makhachev’s demeanor shifted as he spoke to Poirier, leading security to intervene and separate the fighters before the situation escalated further.

While surprising, the confrontation was not entirely unexpected, given the feisty exchanges between Makhachev and Poirier during the press conference when discussing Saturday’s fight.

Islam Makhachev and Dustin Poirier (Via UFC)

“Honestly, I think I am the best fighter in the world right now,” Makhachev said. “That’s why it’s going to be a bad day for Dustin. He has problems with the wrestlers always and I will give him that problem.

“I respect him, but when he faces with some high-level fighters who have wrestling and grappling, he always has problems. If not [for] me, Khabib [Nurmagomedov] or [Charles] Oliveira, he [could] be champion. I feel bad for him, but when he meets some good wrestlers and grapplers, he always has the same problem.”

Makhachev also criticized Poirier’s reliance on the guillotine choke, a submission he frequently attempts but has yet to succeed with in a fight. Despite his coaches’ advice to abandon the guillotine choke, Poirier insists he will eventually perfect it — though Makhachev assures it won’t happen against him.

In fact, the reigning UFC lightweight champion suggested he might need to demonstrate the correct way to execute the guillotine choke when they meet in the octagon.

Islam Makhachev and Dustin Poirier (Via UFC)

“I have to [use this submission] because his guillotine is always looking bad,” Makhachev said. “He always makes some joke about the guillotine. I have to show him how to do it right.”

Poirier, however, predicted a different outcome based on his striking skills.

“I knock him out Saturday night,” Poirier said. “I knock him unconscious. I’m going to pry that belt out of your hands, bro, Saturday night.

“He should listen to his coaches and box like they’re telling him to. Let’s box.”

Makhachev quickly reminded him that they’re not in a boxing match, no matter how much Poirier wants to rely on his hands.

“This is not boxing. This is MMA,” Makhachev said. “If you [don’t] tap, you will sleep.”

Poirier didn’t hesitate to retort.

“Well, you’re going to sleep like it’s boxing,” Poirier said.

The fighters will face off one more time on Friday at UFC 302’s ceremonial weigh-ins, where they’ll have a final opportunity to exchange words before Saturday’s title bout.

Harshad Patel

Written by Harshad Patel

Harshad Patel, a passionate and zealous blogger, writes about WWE with an unmatched fervor. With a writing style that is as dynamic as the wrestling matches he covers, Harshad captures the essence of WWE through his insightful analysis.

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