Dustin Poirier's second crack at UFC gold at UFC 269 fitting as MMA gave the high school dropout a second chance at life

NOT many people get second chances in life – but Dustin Poirier has had them inside and outside of the octagon. 

In January, the pride of Lafayette, Louisiana was given the opportunity to avenge the most devastating defeat of his career – his 2014 loss to Conor McGregor.

The American grasped the shot at revenge with both hands – registering an emphatic second-round KO victory over The Notorious on Fight Island. 

And the American will be hoping for similar redemption this weekend in the main event of UFC 269 in Las Vegas – where he’ll bid to rip the lightweight title from champion Charles Oliveira.

The final pay-per-view bout of a stacked 2021 for the MMA leader will see Poirier bid to become the undisputed ruler of the 155lb division at the second time of asking. 

And it’s somewhat fitting given the fact martial arts gave him a second chance at life after a turbulent few years during his teens. 

Following a stint in a juvenile detention centre – which he said ‘felt like prison’ – Poirier dropped of school at the age of 15. 

And like most high school dropouts, his future prospects looked bleak. 

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In the years that followed, Poirier took on a job at McDonald’s to earn money and would regularly partake in parties with his friends. 

His lifestyle, however, changed forever at the age of 18 when he discovered the sweet science of boxing.

And just a matter of months after walking into the gym, Poirier – who had fallen ‘head over heels for combat’ – took part in his first mixed martial arts bout. 

The rest, as the old saying goes, is history. 

Unbeknownst to him, that fight – as well as his decision to first walk into the boxing gym – ultimately changed the course of his life forever.

And it’s not a stretch to say it likely prevented the once boisterous boy from the mean streets of Lafayette from potentially going down the wrong path.

His life may not have physically been in danger, but it’s safe to say martial arts gave Poirier a second chance at the stable and comfortable future graduating high school and going to university would’ve given him and future wife Jolie. 

Poirier’s exploits inside the octagon have provided his high-school sweetheart Jolie and their daughter Parker a more than comfortable life. 

And his back-to-back wins over McGregor – no matter how contentious the most recent of the pair was – has cemented his legacy as one of the best 155-pounders to ever do it. 

The legacy of the lethal Lafayette leftie, however, will be forever unfulfilled should he not get his hands on undisputed UFC gold. 

The mountain that was the undefeated Khabib Nurmagomedov proved to be too much for the former interim champion to climb in Abu Dhabi two years ago. 

But that experience will stand him in good stead when he looks to end the brief reign of submission specialist Oliveira.

Returning to the foot of the mountain is by no means an easy feat in any sport, let alone climbing it. 

But neither is giving yourself a second chance at life after being written off as just another teenage dropout.

The stage is very much set for Poirier to prove to the world what many mixed martial arts fans believe him to be: the best lightweight on the planet. 

The weight of expectation will no doubt have put additional pressure on the fan favourite's shoulders.

But as old adage goes: pressure creates diamonds.

And with his latest crack at UFC gold coming after his second purifying stage, The Diamond is primed and ready to at long last shine at the top of the heap.


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