UFC 143 Results: How Dustin Poirier Went from Replacement to Title Contender

Matthew HemphillCorrespondent IIFebruary 6, 2012

picture courtesy of Getty images
picture courtesy of Getty images

Dustin Poirier has advanced from being a young fighter with potential, to someone who might one day fight for the title, to becoming an instant contender.

It is hard for fighters like Poirier to get noticed in the UFC, partly because he campaigns at featherweight and partly because the promotion is stacked with famous fighters. That was the case at UFC 143 where Poirier didn't even make it onto the main card.

He has been on televised undercards before, but never the main card.

A fight with Max Holloway shouldn't have done anything to change that, either. Taking the fight on after two opponents dropped out should help his standing with the company, but it wasn't supposed to do anything for his status as a contender.

Holloway was a newcomer to the UFC with Poirier being his first fight in the Octagon. It might have been different if Holloway were a seasoned veteran, but he isn't.

Holloway only had four fights before he came to the UFC. None of them were with big names or in large promotions.

Poirier came in to get a win, collect a paycheck and score points with the bosses.

He wasn't going to get the rub a win over a fighter like Erick Koch, who he was originally supposed to fight, would get him.

He wouldn't even get the attention a fight with Ricardo Lamas, who was supposed to be a replacement, might net him.

picture courtesy of Getty images
picture courtesy of Getty images

He had to face an unknown and win with no serious TV coverage. It was the worst kind of fight.

And then Poirier pulled off an armbar submission from the mount. The move was spectacular and won him submission of the night.

Bonuses help fighters collect money, but they are also like the Oscar's as well.

Even if a fighter is in an undercard fight, if he can get himself a bonus, it is a major marketing point. It is like the little-known actor starring in the small indie film and scoring one of the coveted awards.

Thereafter he has the title "Oscar award winning" attached to his name. It becomes a selling point and gets more people to watch his movies.

The same goes for Poirier. Now whenever he is shown in a UFC promo, that submission is going to pop up, along with the fact that he won the submission of the night.

Even though the featherweight division is filled with good fighters, Jose Aldo, who holds the belt at that weight, is quickly running through them. If the UFC doesn't want to move him to lightweight, they are going to need to find new competitors quickly.

Now that Poirier has won a bonus and extended his win streak to five fights in a row, he fits into that category.

He may not get a title shot in his next fight, but one thing is clear: The next time fans see Poirier, he probably won't be on the undercard.


Matthew Hemphill writes for the MMA and professional wrestling portion of Bleacher Report.  He also hosts a blog elbaexiled.blogspot.com that focuses on books, music, comic books, video games, film and generally anything that could be related to the realms of nerdom.