Atlanta, April 14: Dustin Poirier told Khabib Nurmagomedov to "get his s*** together" after taking his career to the next level with a unanimous decision victory in a brutal battle with Max Holloway at UFC 236.
In a hellacious contest, Poirier captured the interim lightweight title at State Farm Arena against one of the pound-for-pound greats in Holloway with all three judges scoring 49-46 in his favour.
Poirier landed the heavier shots to score another victory over Holloway, who he defeated via first-round submission in 2012.
Speaking after the fight, which had the second-highest amount of significant strikes in UFC history at 359, Poirier said: "This feels amazing. I feel like I'm in a dream right now.
"I just beat the pound-for-pound best in the world. To be the best, you have to beat the best. Damn, I feel good. I've earned this with blood. Paid in full, this is mine."
Also read: UFC 236 results
UFC president Dana White said undefeated lightweight champion Nurmagomedov, still suspended for his part in an ugly brawl with Conor McGregor last October, is next up for Poirier.
Asked if he had a message for his future opponent, Poirier said: "In the words of my brother Daniel Cormier, get your s*** together young man. We got a belt to fight for."
Nurmagomedov replied to Poirier's call-out on Twitter, saying he scored the fight a draw.
"I don't agree with the judges 49:46, I got a draw, my respect to both fighters, and Poirier's achievement so far cannot be denied, my congratulations Dustin, see you in September," he wrote.
I don’t agree with the judges 49:46, I got a draw, my respect to both fighters, and Porier’s achievement so far cannot be denied, my congratulations Dustin, see you in September. vs— khabib nurmagomedov (@TeamKhabib) April 14, 2019
Holloway had won 13 consecutive fights before Saturday's bout, but the 27-year-old was gracious in defeat.
"I'm not going to take nothing away from Dustin," Holloway said. "He beat a world champion and is a world champion. There ain't no interim s***. He's a world champion. Congrats, brother."
Elsewhere on the card, Israel Adesanya proved himself on the biggest level by defeating Kelvin Gastelum in a fight-of-the-year contender to become interim middleweight champion.
The undefeated Adesanya dropped his opponent several times in a dramatic round five after a vicious encounter between clinical strikers that had the crowd completely enthralled.
Adesanya, who is now set to fight full champion Robert Whittaker, was full of praise for his beaten opponent.
"There's someone who is more of a man than me," he said. "I've planned this for so long. Without you my career wouldn't be where it is."