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Neither Islam Makhachev nor Dustin Poirier have to wait much longer to get their hands on one another at UFC 302 in New Jersey on Saturday night — but at Thursday’s pre-fight press conference, the two men who will contest the organisation’s lightweight championship came close to giving a fans a preview of this weekend’s main event. 

Champion Makhachev takes on the third defence of his 155-pound title against Poirier, a bout against a top-ranked lightweight that follows two successive defences against then-featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski. And while much of the pre-fight talk between the two was respectful, Thursday press conference suggested that the fight has a little needle to it that had perhaps been absent for much of the lead-in.

“Honestly, I think I am the best fighter in the world right now,” Makhachev said to the media, including The Mac Life, of his confidence heading into the title fight, as noted by MMA Fighting. “That’s why it’s going to be a bad day for Dustin. He has problems with the wrestlers always and I will give him that problem.

“I respect him, but when he faces with some high-level fighters who have wrestling and grappling, he always has problems. If not me, Khabib or Oliveira, he be champion. I feel bad for him, but when he meet some good wrestlers and grapplers, he always has the same problem.”

Poirier, meanwhile, agreed somewhat, and suggested that his path to victory comes on the feet.

“I knock him out Saturday night,” he said. “I knock him unconscious. I’m going to pry that belt out of your hands, bro, Saturday night. He should listen to his coaches and box like they’re telling him to. Let’s box.”

You can watch the UFC 302 press conference in full right here.