The documentary Fightville begins just to show mainstream audiences what MMA is all about, on the local professional level. It ends up being the discovery film for Dustin Poirier who got signed to the UFC after the events chronicled in the film. Poirier joined the filmmakers in ActionFest to show them the real deal for fighting, and I got to hang with him after the screening.
CraveOnline: Who can you not wait to fight in the UFC?
Dustin Poirier: There’s a lot of guys, man. Probably a guy named Erik Koch would be the guy I want to fight most just because after his last fight he said that I was talking crap and that I’m a crap talker. That’s not true. I don’t disrespect anybody. I’d like to fight him simply because of that.
CraveOnline: Why did he get that impression?
Dustin Poirier: I don't know. Apparently somebody said that I said something about his demeanor, the way he carried himself. I don’t remember, maybe I was doing an interview and somebody asked me about fighting with him. That’s the only thing I could think of. Somebody might’ve been like, “What do you think about fighting Erik Koch?” I’d be like, “Oh, that’d be a great fight. That’d be the fight of the night. He’s a good young guy. I feel like our styles would match up and make a great fight. He seems a little cocky.” I might’ve said that, he seems a little cocky. I guess an MMA website did an interview with him and said, “So did you hear that Dustin’s talking sh*t?” and blew it out of proportion. I think that might be it but other than that I have no idea.
CraveOnline: What does it take to get to a fight with Koch?
Dustin Poirier: He has another fight lined up with a guy named Cub Swanson. I have a fight lined up with Rani Yahya. If I win my fight and he wins his fight, I’m pretty sure we can make it happen.
CraveOnline: When was your first UFC fight?
Dustin Poirier: After that Canada fight, I got signed to the WEC, World Extreme Cage Fighting which was owned by the UFC. Fought twice there. I lost my debut, came back, won my second fight in the WEC with a knockout. Then UFC rolled all the fighters from WEC into the UFC. I got a call from my manager two weeks after I just fought in the WEC. He said the guy who was going to fight for the title, the champ got hurt at 145 pounds. I’m 155 pounds at the time. The champ got hurt, they were scrambling for a guy, a last minute replacement to fight the number one contender. I said I’ll do it, let’s do this, shots like this don’t happen but once in a lifetime. Where am I going to be if I let somebody else take that spot? That’s not me. I’m a warrior. This is what I do. So I got from 174 pounds to 145 pounds in less than a month, went out there and dominated the fight by unanimous decision three rounds at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. It was televised where I beat the number one contender and broke the top ten. It put me in the top ten in the world at 145 pounds which is a crazy story.
CraveOnline: How did it feel to have a league fight?
Dustin Poirier: On the big stage, on the main stage fight. That’s the biggest organization in the world, the UFC. I went out there and put on a great performance. It was overwhelming. Going out there and doing exactly what I know I can do and it’s on TV against a guy who’s proven himself. He was number six or number seven in the world at the time. I was a nobody. I knew who I was but people didn’t. Going out there and performing was just amazing. I had nothing to lose and everything to gain. I took the fight on short notice. People expected me to lose. I was 4:1 underdog. I had buddies of mine bet $1000 and win $4000. I was really underdog in the betting odds and just went out there and did what I said I was going to do. It’s crazy. It’s the best feeling in the world. I think I’m still high from it and that was in January.
CraveOnline: How does your daily life change now that you’re in UFC? You were already training constantly.
Dustin Poirier: I was able to quit my job. Not that I’m making a whole lot of money in the UFC but I’m making more than it was when I was fighting around locally. So I can focus 100% of my time on fighting which before I was juggling a job and fighting. So I’d work and as soon as I’d get off work, I’d train as much as I can. Pretty much I was working and fighting full time pretty much. I have a philosophy, the more time I spend on the mat, every day, even when I don’t want to be there, even when I’m hurting, even when I probably should take the day off, in 10 years from now, when I’m 32 years old and other guys are 32 years old and you look back on our track record and how much we’ve been on the mat and how much we’ve trained, I’ve probably trained twice as much as them. You’re really going to be able to tell the difference in a couple years and I want to hit that point. I spend as much time as I can on the mat and now I’m in the UFC, people know my name, it’s opening doors for sponsorships, I’m traveling more, getting better fights, bigger money fights. It’s crazy. I’m on the road to redemption. I feel like that. I have those in my life I really care about. If I didn’t have those I think I’d be doing what I was doing, drinking, smoking weed, doing a list of other things that I shouldn’t have been doing.
CraveOnline: You have phenomenal habits now. The diet you had looked worse than the raw eggs from Rocky.
Dustin Poirier: [Laughs] Yeah, now that I have a little more money and I’ve branched out in the business better, I’ve run into a lot more guys who do this for a living. So I now have a dietician. I’m on a plan when it gets close to a fight. So just doing everything to perfect my fighting art, every single thing that I can.
CraveOnline: How has the film festival circuit been for you?
Dustin Poirier: This is the second one I’ve been to. This is obviously a little smaller. South by Southwest was huge. We had a couple hundred people in there. The crowd was going crazy in the fight scenes, clapping, it was amazing. After, I did a couple interviews with different websites, TV, signed autographs. There was a line of people, it was awesome. It was like I was on the red carpet. Then we’re going to Toronto at the end of this month. I’m expecting it to be crazy out there because that’s the GSP fight. That’s UFC Fan Expo in Canada so it’s going to be huge. It’s going to be thousands and thousands of MMA fans there so I think that’s going to be a pretty good experience.