American Top Team strength and conditioning coach Phil Daru believes that his fighter has a big advantage in the striking department ahead of his lightweight title fight against Khabib Nurmagomedov in September.
Speaking to Planet MMA, Daru described Poirier’s advantages over Nurmagomedov, as well as how he is preparing the interim champion to hand Khabib his first professional loss.
“We definitely have a huge advantage on the feet,” Daru explains. “Dustin is, in my opinion, by far the most decorated boxer in MMA… I know how he puts shots together, and he’s damaging on the feet. He’ll mess you up if you stay in the pocket with him.”
Nurmagomedov’s constant threat of a take-down has opened up boxing opportunities for the Russian in the past, however Daru doesn’t believe that Khabib’s striking poses much of a threat to Poirier.
“Everybody has the ability to knock you out, especially with those little gloves,” says Daru. “And Khabib is strong… but again I would say that when it comes down to striking ability, Dustin is going to have the advantage. Now what ends up happening is that Khabib is going to go in and threaten with a take-down, which opens up opportunities for him to strike… We have to be cautious of that, and we’re not going to leave ourselves open just to evade or drop our hands to get hit with a stupid shot.”
Dustin Poirier won the interim lightweight title in April against current featherweight champion Max Holloway. The Louisiana native will look to give the 27-0 Khabib Nurmagomedov his first career loss come September, and Daru believes that Poirier will have the heart to so.
“Dustin is the type of person who is going to go out on his shield no matter what, so [Khabib] is going to have to kill him in there to beat him.”
What do you think? Will Khabib trade with Poirier on the feet? How will the ground exchanges play out? Let us know in the comments! Check out our full interview with Phil Daru in the video above!