Dustin Poirier and Arman Tsarukyan sparring at the ATT gym

Poirier is sparring with Arman Tsarukyan in preparation for the fight with Khabib

A few days ago Dustin Poirier posted a picture on Twitter with the Armenian/Russian fighter Arman Tsarukyan. Tsarukyan and Poirier are being recently sparring together at the American Top Team gym near Miami which is very interesting ahead of the upcoming Khabib vs Poirier fight. It also caused some rumors and negative comments about Tsarukyan on social media from Khabib’s fan base.

A 22-year old Tsarukyan had his debut in the UFC at the event in St. Petersburg, Russia on April 20, 2019. He faced Khabib’s best friend and training partner Islam Makhachev. Being an underdog, Arman lost that fight to Makhachev via unanimous decision but he showed a lot of potential and some excellent wrestling/grappling skills. This is what makes it interesting that he went to train with Poirier’s team right now as Dustin started his “Khabib camp”.

Apparently, according to Tsarukyan himself (from his interview to the Russian media), the reason why he came to the American Top Team gym is not to specifically sparring with Poirier and help him to get ready for Khabib.

Arman is actually in his camp himself as he is facing Olivier Aubin-Mercier on July 27th at UFC 240. Tsarukyan said that from now he is going to prepare for his fights at the ATT gym in Florida because “it’s a perfect place to train and there are a lot of high-level sparring partners” which is necessary for him to make progress.

Here are a few more interesting quotes from Tsarukyan’s interview.

Tsarukyan about Poirier’s ground game and helping him to prepare for a fight with Nurmagomedov.

“Dustin’s ground game is not bad but it’s nowhere near Khabib’s level. He is not going to outwrestle Khabib so he should focus on things that he is good at. Poirier has BJJ black belt but here at the gym there are a few other guys with black belts, they only compete in BJJ – they are insane. Poirier’s BJJ style is more adapted to the MMA.

We did sparring with him but I also practice with a bunch of other guys – there are about 100 fighters at the gym and we always switch partners. With Poirier, we did some drills on the ground. I was taking him down and he was trying to escape, get back up or counter-attack on the ground”.

About his relationship with Poirier and Khabib.

“We met with Dustin not long ago so I can’t say that we’re friends at the moment. We are just sparring together sometimes, exchanging a few phrases here and there – that’s about it.

Speaking of Khabib, I have a lot of respect for him. I always liked how he fights and I hope he’ll keep his undefeated streak going”.

About Poirier’s weight (because on the picture he looks a lot bigger than Tsarukyan).

“He is not as big as he looks on the picture. The way Dustin is built, he has a big torso but skinny legs. I am built a little bit different than him. At the moment he might be about 10-12 pounds heavier than me but I’m already on a diet because I started cutting weight and he is just at the beginning of the camp”.

About his English and adapting to life in the US.

“I came to train here on my own, without any help. I can communicate with people one on one and don’t have problems with the language barrier. I am focused on my goal, I spend pretty much all day training at the gym, I never even went to Miami yet”.

What do you guys think of the idea of “The Diamond” sparring with Arman Tsarukyan in preparation for the fight of his life against Khabib? I think it’s very smart as stylistically Tsarukyan as close to Khabib as you can find somebody to train with unless you are sparring with somebody from Nurmagomedov’s team. Tsarukyan is not Khabib, but it will give a good idea for Poirier on what to expect and what he’ll be dealing with on September, 7.

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