Dustin Poirier reveals he is still 'haunted' by Khabib loss and coming agonisingly close to submitting undefeated icon

DUSTIN POIRIER admits he's still 'haunted' by his near submission of Khabib Nurmagomedov.

The former interim lightweight champion came ever so close to submitting the undefeated Russian with a guillotine choke in their 155lb title unification bout in September 2019.

Nurmagomedov, however, weathered the storm and went on to retain his title with a third-round rear-naked choke.

Poirier recalled his near-historic submission of The Eagle during an appearance on The Joe Rogan Experience Podcast, saying: "The Khabib fight was so close.

"I should've went to full guard. I felt him panic too."

Although he was annoyed at himself for not jumping to full guard, Poirier's biggest regret from that moment was his failure to transition to another submission.

The 32-year-old added: "I just know how close it was. A game of inches, and I know how close it was.

"What haunts me more than [not pulling] full guard is me not switching to a D'Arce or anaconda [choke] when he rolled to his side.

"That's what gets me more. 'Why didn't I punch that arm through?"

Despite succumbing to Nurmagomedov's crushing top game, Poirier doesn't believe the Russian is the strongest opponent he's faced.

He said: "I don't know if he's the strongest guy I ever fought, but he's strong. They're all strong.

[There was] nothing overwhelming or that really surprises me. It's just his understanding of balance and weight placement was incredible.

"I've been fighting and wrestling a long time, as well, but he just knew where my weight was and where it needed to be for me to stay up with his foot trips.

"It's hard to explain, man, but he's good. So good."

Poirier bounced back from his defeat to Nurmagomedov with consecutive victories over Dan Hooker and Conor McGregor, the latter of whom he knocked out in January at UFC 257.

A trilogy fight between The Diamond and his former featherweight rival is in the works for the summer.

He told Rogan: “We’re just trying to get the right deal structured.

“This is going to be a big fight. He knocked me out, (and) I knocked him out. The trilogy.

“For sure one of the biggest fights this year, but maybe of all time. … I don’t directly talk to them.

“They talk to my manager, Rob Roveta. We try to put ourselves in the best position to sit at the table with them and have a legit conversation about getting this fight booked.

“We’re trying to structure the right deal, and when that happens, the fight will be on. Until then, we’ll see.”

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