Dan Hardy has given his thoughts on the lightweight title fight between champion Charles Oliveira and Dustin Poirier, set to take place at UFC 269 this weekend.
Oliveira, who is currently riding a nine fight winning streak, won the vacant title by finishing Michael Chandler in the second round at UFC 262, while Poirier is coming off back-to-back wins against Conor McGregor at UFC 257 and UFC 264.
‘Very Difficult To Beat’
Speaking to Submission Radio (as transcribed by MMA Junkie), Hardy said that Oliveira would be very difficult to beat for anyone in the lightweight division.
“When my breakdown show went up, there were a few comments about people saying ‘finally someone that’s not underestimating Charles Oliveira,’” Hardy said. “I find him very difficult to underestimate, if I’m honest. Anybody that pays attention when he’s fighting knows how lethal he is. Dustin Poirier is no doubt a tough, durable veteran. He’s a smart individual that’s rounded out his game with maturity and has made him a far more effective fighter.
“And if it goes into the trenches, we know he can fight through hell, and he can come out on the other side. The general feeling around Poirier is that, well, if Khabib wasn’t in the division at the same time then Poirier would have been champion. Yeah, for sure. But I think times have changed now, and Oliveira’s the champion, and I think he would be very difficult for anybody to get the belt off (him).”
Oliveira vs Poirier Prediction
Hardy continued by saying that Oliveira is better than Poirier skill-wise, and he believes the Brazilian has a 70 to 80 percent chance of winning at UFC 269.
“I just think skills-wise, Oliveira is a better martial artist all around,” Hardy said. “Whether Dustin Poirier can apply it better because he’s been swimming in this top pool for a bit longer, I don’t know. But I’ve seen no reason to believe that Charles Oliveira won’t be champion by the end of the fight. It wouldn’t surprise me if he’s able to back Poirier up against the fence and beat him up a little bit, and then catch his neck on the way in. Something like the Kevin Lee fight.
“But at the same time, I wouldn’t be surprised if Oliveira decides to go offensive and take Poirier down and kind of beat him up and maul him like he did Tony Ferguson. It’s a hard fight for Poirier. He’s got heart, and he’s got heavy hands, and once he gets in the swing of things and finds his rhythm, if Charles Oliveira has not been prepared for those championship rounds, then for sure Dustin Poirier can take that belt. But skill-wise, from the research I’ve done, I think Charles Oliveira has got probably a 70 or 80 percent chance of coming out on top.”
Do you agree with Dan Hardy?