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As if Dustin Poirier's reputation for being a battle-tested legend needed more validation, his UFC 299 knockout of red-hot contender Benoit Saint Denis on Saturday in Miami was one for the ages

The 35-year-old Poirier, a former interim lightweight titleholder and future Hall of Famer, went from being walked down and repeatedly bullied by his younger opponent to heroically turning the tide in the co-main event. Poirier (30-8, 1 NC) rallied behind pinpoint counterpunching with his back to the cage to wobble Saint Denis (13-2, 1 NC) before finishing him with a vicious right hook and a brutal follow-up on the ground to remove him from consciousness. 

"I was getting beat up a little bit and getting rolled out by this guy," Poirier said. "I got him at the end. I touched him a couple times at the beginning but he was pretty strong."

Saint Denis, a former member of the French Army Special Forces Command, rode a win streak of five straight fights -- all by finish -- and was having his way with Poirier in their all-action affair behind constant pressure, physicality, body kicks and combination punching. 

After closing Round 1 with a deep armbar attempt, the 27-year-old Saint Denis reversed into full mount early in Round 2 and flattened Poirier out before threatening chokes until the momentum dramatically swung in Poirier's favor. 

"This is the shit that make you a f---ing legend," UFC CEO Dana White said. "These are legendary fights when you go in and you face a guy who is a savage, and it looks like you can't win this fight or people think you can't win this fight and then you do it, in spectacular fashion in the way he did tonight. We don't determine whether you lose or whether you win, you do. What we try to do is put on the best match-made fight that we can possibly do, and that's why big stars are built in the UFC and legendary fights happen every weekend."

Poirier took a risk in even accepting the fight rather than relying on his celebrity fighting name to hopefully secure another shot at an elusive UFC undisputed title but said after the victory that he wouldn't have imagined acting any other way. 

"I took this fight because he finished his last five opponents," Poirier said. "He's not a name everybody knows but he is on his way up and he's dangerous. He has a never say die attitude and I told myself that I have to take this fight. Hold your position or lose it, that's the nature of the beast. That's what we do.

"I'm just a man. I've got a lot of respect for Benoit Saint Denis and his grit." 

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