Dustin Poirier has revealed the painful price he paid for successfully knocking out Justin Gaethje at UFC on Fox 29 last weekend.
The lightweight title contender came through four rounds of absolute war with his rival fighter, before producing a stunning flurry to finish the incredibly durable Gaethje.
Poiriers leg was targeted by Gaethje from the opening seconds, and the 29-year-old was clearly struggling to put weight on it after the first round.
Gaethje too took some serious damage and eventually it was his tally that maxed out first as Poirier stopped him after a crunching right hook connected in the fourth round.
The battle will be a contender for Fight of the Year and Poirier was sporting some serious war wounds the day after the fight.
Poirier was carried out of the octagon by his team and shared a post-fight snap of his face and his severely swollen and bruised leg on Sunday.
The win fires Poirier straight into title contention and the American called out champion Khabib Nurmagomedov in the octagon after the fight.
Nurmagomedov became champion at UFC 223 and will need an opponent should Conor McGregor be unable to return to face the Russian.
Ive paid my dues, Poirier said on Fox. Ive put nothing but hard work in. Ive been close to the mountaintop and Ive been knocked down.
A true Fight of the Year contender!
Poirier takes the W after all-out war with Gaethje
— UFC: Barboza vs. Lee on BT Sport (@btsportufc) April 15, 2018
Ive shown resilience and fortitude and Ive done it over and over again to put myself back in the position Im in, and Im hitting my stride as a father, a fighter, a husband and a person.
Im ready to go, and gold is next. I smell it. I feel it in the air.
Elsewhere on the night, there was another defeat for veteran contender Carlos Condit.
The defeat is the fourth in a row for the former interim champion and the debate will rage on about whether Condit should retire.
There was also big wins on the night for Michelle Waterson and Alex Oliveira, who both bounced back from defeats while rising star Israel Adesanya moved to 14-0 by beating Marvin Vettori.
UFC on Fox 29 Results
Dustin Poirier def. Justin Gaethje – TKO (punches, R4)
Alex Oliveira def. Carlos Condit – Sub (guillotine choke, R2)
Israel Adesanya def. Marvin Vettori – SD (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Michelle Waterson def. Cortney Casey – SD (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Antonio Carlos Junior def. Tim Boetsch – Sub (rear-naked choke, R1)
Muslim Salikhov def. Ricky Rainey – KO (punches, R2)
John Moraga def. Wilson Reis – UD
Brad Tavares def. Krzysztof Jotko – TKO (punches, R3)
Gilbert Burns def. Dan Moret – KO (punch, R2)
Lauren Mueller def. Shana Dobson – UD
Yushin Okami def. Dhiego Lima – UD
Adam Wieczorek def. Arjan Bhullar – Sub (omoplata, R2)
Alejandro Perez def. Matthew Lopez – TKO (knees and punches, R2)
Luke Sanders def. Patrick Williams – UD