What mattered most at Saturday’s UFC on ESPN 12 in Las Vegas? Here are a few post-fight musings …

* * * * *

1. “The Diamond” shines again

Go look at the pinned tweet on Dustin Poirier’s Twitter profile. I’ll wait a second. Back now? OK. Good. If you actually went there, you’ll see it’s still the message he posted in November 2016 after his knockout loss to Michael Johnson: “It’s all about perseverance.”

Poirier showed once again that he’s one of the greatest ever at overcoming obstacles. After being down on himself following a lopsided title unification fight loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov in September, Poirier was forced to sit on the disappointment longer than any fight in his career. He underwent an invasive hip surgery after the loss, then had his return postponed by the coronavirus pandemic.

After all that, Dan Hooker came out the gate strong and snatched the first two rounds of their main-event fight. It put Poirier in a situation with significant implications for his career: Does he allow Hooker to take another round, which would’ve sealed the win in his favor, or dig deep and turn it around?

We saw it ended up being the latter, with Poirier managing to alter the momentum in his favor and scrap his way to a unanimous decision win in what will surely end on the short list of “Fight of the Year” candidates.

It was a brilliant showcase of resolve, and once again displayed why “The Diamond” is one of the special ones in the sport. It remains to be seen if he can ever get that undisputed UFC lightweight belt, but even if he doesn’t, Poirier is an all-time action fighter and a future UFC Hall of Famer to boot. Appreciate him while he’s here.