MMA has evolved significantly over the last 10 years. Fighters once perceived as animals with an appetite for brutal physical combat, a thirst only quenched by drawing blood from the foe placed in their path, are now beginning to be taken seriously as professional athletes. Few fighters exemplify the newly formed perception of a modern-day fighter better than Dustin “Diamond” Poirier.

Poirier is a consummate professional relentlessly training to master his craft, surrounded by a gym full of proficient training partners, a management and marketing team looking out for his best interest, and a dietician to always ensure a healthy approach.

“This is my job,” Poirier explained to The MMA Corner. “It’s a business, I treat it like one, I take everything when it comes to fighting and training very serious. I don’t cut corners and I do everything I am supposed to do and it has been working out for me.”

As smooth outside the cage, in the public spotlight, as he is in the cage, Poirier is quickly rising in the featherweight ranks and surely looks to contend for a title in due time. However, before he has an opportunity to wrap the belt around his waist, he must take care of business against Max Holloway at UFC 143 on Feb. 4 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas.

Poirier’s preparation for the upcoming fight has been challenging due to three separate opponent changes. Originally slated to face Erik Koch, Poirier has had to adjust on the fly due to injuries to Koch and Koch’s replacement, Ricardo Lamas, eventually resulting in the match against Holloway. For some, the need to adjust on the fly would be crippling, but “Diamond” is unphased.

“Koch was a southpaw kickboxer, and then it got switched to a wrestler, and now I am back to a kickboxer,” Poirier said. “Things change, people get hurt, but the one constant through all the changes is me doing the right things on my end, at the end of the day that’s what it comes down to. I don’t have any control over my opponent, but I have complete control over how I prepare.”

Dustin has prepared well, as he has ran his record to 11-1 while taking out considerable competition in Josh Grispi and Pablo Garza. Now considered a top contender in the lightweight division, Poirier’s eyes are set on a big 2012, which for Poirier starts this Saturday against Holloway.

“He comes to fight,” said Poirier. “He walks forward and throws punches, fans are going to really enjoy this fight because I am going to walk forward too and we are going to beat each other up until someone can’t take anymore, or I can use my jiu-jitsu.”

Poirier’s confidence in all facets of fighting is due to him being one of the most well-balanced fighters in the featherweight. Of his 11 career wins, five have come via knockout and four by submission. Equipped with a natural flow to his striking and a lethally opportunistic propensity to submit opponents, there is no safe haven to be found when in the cage with Poirier.

“I feel like I can finish the fight anywhere, standing up or on the ground,” admitted Poirier. “It is kind of like a pick your poison for (Holloway), if he wants to keep it on the feet, I will be able to finish him. If we start clinching, scrambling and end up on the ground, I can finish him there.”

Win, lose or draw, Piorier’s professional approach will be on display in grand fashion as he continues to cement himself as a force within his division, and a premier talent in the UFC.

“I want to prove myself, I am the up-and-comer.”

Top Photo: Dustin Poirier (Sherdog)

This piece was authored by Chase Buzzell. You can find Chase via his LinkedIn Profile.

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