Poirier finishes Gaethje in another Fight of the Night performance

Poirier finishes Gaethje in another Fight of the Night performance

The UFC on Fox 29 headliner may very well take its toll on Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje down the road, but it will boost their bank accounts in the more immediate future.

"This is my 20th fight in UFC".

"I didn't get in this sport to win or lose", said Gaethje. "I would never stand here and ask for something I didn't earn".

With the win, Poirier improved his career mixed martial arts record to 23-5 with 1 no-contest. We would sleep in broken-down motels and fight the next day, just me and her. In the end it was Poirier who capitalized in the fourth round when he clipped Gaethje and then poured on the pressure, forcing the rubber legged Gaethje across the cage and finally to the canvas for a stoppage.

The insane action continued into Round 3 when a counter right hand staggered Poirier against the fence.

Poirier appeared willing to fight on despite the effect it had on his vision and argued with the cageside doctor and referee to continue. He had stitches in his face, may have broken his left hand.

Poirier wisely refused to let Gaethje draw him into a brawl, his volume putting him ahead on the scorecards heading into the third. Dean jumped in at 33 seconds after Gaethje collapsed to the ground.

The 29-year-old Gaethje has staged three instant classics in as many walks to the Octagon, but suffered his second straight defeat by knockout in his return to Gila River Arena, where he claimed two state high school wrestling titles over a decade ago. The former World Series of Fighting champion was stopped by Eddie Alvarez last December. Despite no really bad fights per say, there were good points and bad points as with any UFC show - here are six of them.

What remains unsure, however, is whether Poirier will get his wish for an instant title shot.

"Absolutely (he's a title contender)", White said.

Either way, Poirier perfectly showcased not only his toughness but his evolution as a fighter both physically and mentally.