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Makhachev, Poirier get heated at UFC 302 press conference

Islam Makhachev and Dustin Poirier ahead of UFC 302
Things got heated when Islam Makhachev and Dustin Poirier faced off ahead of their UFC 302 clash.

Tensions are rising ahead of UFC 302 this weekend, with Islam Makhachev and Dustin Poirier both getting heated at the press conference on Friday morning (AEST).

The pair, who will fight in the main event at New Jersey’s Prudential Center on Sunday, had to be separated by security after words were exchanged at the UFC 302 faceoff.


Matters began cordially, with the usual stare-down occurring. Makhachev had plenty to say to Poirier, but the two appeared cordial. Poirier even turned an ear and leaned in to listen to his opponent, while Makhachev gave a few wry smiles in his direction.

However, something the American said clearly irked Makhachev.

His mannerisms quickly changed, with the UFC lightweight champion lifting a hand and quickly becoming hostile. Security stepped in but were shrugged off as both fighters got control of themselves.

Words exchanged following UFC 302 faceoff

Following the faceoff, Makhachev and Poirier exchanged words about the upcoming bout.

Poirier spent most of his time trying to bait the Russian into boxing on Saturday night.

“I knock him out Saturday night. I knock him unconscious,” he said.

“I’m going to pry that belt out of your hands, Saturday night.

“He should listen to his coaches and box like they’re telling him to. Let’s box. You’re going to sleep like it’s boxing.”

In response, Makhachev needled Poirier over his lack of success with the guillotine choke.

“This is not boxing. This is MMA,” he retorted.

“If you don’t tap, you will sleep. I have to [go for a guillotine submission] because his guillotine is always looking bad.

“He always makes some joke about the guillotine. I have to show him how to do it right.”

MMA bookmakers have Makhachev submitting Poirier as the most likely outcome, returning -105.26 ahead of the UFC 302 main event.

“Honestly, I think I am the best fighter in the world right now,” the Russian continued.

“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.”

The pair will have one final chance to say their piece ahead of UFC 302 at Friday’s press conference, after which it will be their mixed martial arts skills that do the talking.

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