DUSTIN POIRIER CONFIRMED his belonging in the top ten UFC lightweight rankings with a unanimous win over Joseph Duffy in Las Vegas.
The Louisiana native has now won three on the bounce since losing to Conor McGregor in 2014.
The durable Duffy took quite the punishment through the 15 sapping minutes and three draining rounds.
Duffy was sporting a badly swollen left eye with Poirier getting the nod from all three judges at cageside.
His best stanza was the second, when he worked from the top to pummel Duffy, although the Burtonport man did have his moments.
Blood gushed from Poirier’s nose, but the American wasn’t to be denied.
I don’t care how much pain I go through how much I bleed…I got self belief,” he bellowed afterwards.
“I’m coming for that strap. I swear to God, you better protect it.”
Poirier told of how tough the rugged Duffy made life in the octagon.
He said: “I felt bone in his forehead multiple times but he wouldn’t bleed…I’m a nasty motherf*****.
“My nose is crushed, for sure. “When I touch it, it feels like a broken lightbulb. I didn’t want to make it a boring fight by grinding it out but I couldn’t breathe at all.
“Joe hit me with a lot of punches. He had a lot of volume but not a lot of power.”
Poirier is 3-0 in the 155lbs division and 19-4 overall with Duffy now standing at 14-2 and in need of a recalibration of his co-ordinates for there’s no doubting that defeat here represents a set-back for ‘Irish Joe’.
The bout certainly made up for the three months of lost time since it had to be pulled from the schedule in Dublin’s 3Arena back in October after Duffy suffered concussion.
The fighters put on a show that broke new ground in the sport. UFC President Dana White confirmed that the Duffy-Poirier contest, which was the last fight shown on the Fight Pass platform, before the pay-per-view part of the night began, set a new viewership mark.