UFC 299: Poirier and Saint Denis - A Catalyst for Evolution in Mixed Martial Arts

"Saint Denis can defeat Poirier, the young generations are 'hungry' and don't sleep under silk blankets," Gaethje said

by Sededin Dedovic
UFC 299: Poirier and Saint Denis - A Catalyst for Evolution in Mixed Martial Arts
© Sarah Stier / Getty Images

In the dynamic world of mixed martial arts, the UFC 299 event promises to be an exciting event where, among others, there will be a clash between the experienced veteran Dustin Poirier and the emerging talent Benoit Saint Denis.

Poirier, with a wealth of experience and 29 fights in the UFC, will fight the 28-year-old Frenchman, one of the fights that has generated a lot of interest. This match marks not only a difference in ages but also a distinct clash of generations within the MMA sphere.

In the more than 30 years that we have been following the UFC, we have witnessed such matches many times, and quite often it was a match to find a new champion and send an already established legend into retirement. Dustin Poirier, a UFC member since 2011, boasts an impressive resume of 38 professional appearances, 29 of which have taken place under the UFC banner.

After facing some of the most formidable opponents in featherweight and lightweight, Poirier's journey through the UFC can be considered quite successful and he is already an established fighter and a future legend of the sport.

The 32-year-old Louisiana native has etched his name alongside the greats, contributing to the evolution of the sport over the past decade. Along with other stars, he also had a great influence on the development of the sport and its popularity.

Dustin Poirier© Logan Riely / Getty Images

Benoit Saint Denis: Rising Star:

On the opposite side of the cage stands Benoit Saint Denis, a relative newcomer to the MMA scene with 15 professional fights under his belt.

The 28-year-old French fighter made his mark in the UFC in 2019 and quickly climbed the ranks of the lightweight division. With six UFC appearances under his belt, Saint Denis has shown promise and determination, entering the Octagon as the No.

12 lightweight challenger. This match against Poirier serves as a test, measuring his readiness for the upper division. He has strength and explosiveness on his side, which he should use against Poirier, who is seven years his senior.

The match between Poirier and Saint Denis will not be an ordinary match; it is a symbolic confrontation between the old guard and the new blood in MMA, which in recent years has changed the way the sport develops. With many Dagestan fighters, but also American and European ones, we can no longer see the dominance of one fighter in the division so often.

The UFC is much more competitive, and almost every month a young and promising fighter appears. The outcome of this match will shed light on whether it is time for a generational change at the top or whether Poirier's ranking as the third contender is justified.

Poirier the underdog

Despite Poirier's experienced background and impressive ranking, the bookies are slightly favoring Benoit Saint Denis. Recent form plays a key role in shaping these odds. Saint Denis enters the competition on a five-game winning streak, having secured three shutout victories in the previous year.

On the other hand, Poirier has faced setbacks, with two losses in his last three outings, including a second-round knockout to Justin Gaethje in 2023. These factors contribute to Poirier being labeled an underdog in this highly anticipated bout.

Insights from Justin Gaethje

Adding fuel to the pre-fight narrative is Justin Gaethje, the last man to beat Dustin Poirier. Gaethje emphasizes the danger posed by the new generation of fighters, praising their hunger and skills.

"This is such a crazy sport. I absolutely believe that Saint Denis could win. His skills are up to par. This is a very similar situation to when I fought Rafael Fiziev. We are talking about a young up-and-coming fighter who is full of self-confidence, very "hungry" and still not sleeping under a silk blanket.

These young guys are very dangerous and have insanely good skills. Benoit is just starting big fights, and I like him because he even called me out. I think Poirier is the perfect opponent for him right now and that's the fighter he should be fighting right now.'

While Benoit Saint Denis may have plenty of confidence and outside support, the fact remains that he is entering the toughest matchup of his career against a resilient and skilled opponent in Dustin Poirier. Gaethje mentioned his match against Rafael Fiziev.

Fiziev is also a member of the "new generation", but he got stuck against Gaethje, and it won't be surprising if that happens to Saint Denis. It remains to be seen whether Poirier can maintain his position as a top contender or whether Saint Denis will usher in a new era.

Poirier had only one match last year, and maybe the Frenchman should look for an opportunity there, because it is likely that Poirier is not in the competitive ability he was before. Such matches can only improve the quality and competitiveness of the UFC organization. Such matches are a great move by UFC management and Dana White.