Islam Makhachev hopes Dustin Poirier doesn’t retire after UFC 302

Islam Makhachev hopes Dustin Poirier doesn’t retire after UFC 302

UFC lightweight champion Islam Makhachev is urging Dustin Poirier not to retire after UFC 302.

Makhachev (25-1 MMA, 14-1 UFC) defends his title against Poirier (30-8 MMA, 22-7 UFC) in Saturday’s UFC 302 (pay-per-view/ESPN2/ESPN+) headliner at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.

Poirier knocked out highly touted rising contender Benoit Saint Denis to earn his third crack at undisputed gold. “The Diamond” said Makhachev could be his final fight, but Makhachev thinks Poirier still has a lot of fight left in him regardless of the outcome.

“He’s old, he’s talking about retirement, but I don’t want him (to) retire after this fight if I beat him,” Makhachev told NBC Sports. “This guy is dangerous. He can beat everybody. He’s number, like, top five in the world, you know? That’s why I don’t think it’s a good idea for him to talk about retiring, because he’s still a very dangerous guy. That’s why I’m preparing very hard for him.”

As for Makhachev, the champion isn’t concerned with what’s next but is open to whatever the UFC offers.

“I’m just thinking about my next fight,” Makhachev said. “It’s not my job thinking about the future because I have a manager. I have a team. I’m fighting in the UFC. They make the decision. Who they put against me, I will be ready. It’s going to be Arman (Tsarukyan), or it’s going to be Leon (Edwards), or it’s going to be someone else. I will be ready.”

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 302.

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