Benoit Saint Denis not ruling out title shot with Dustin Poirier win: ‘Nothing is impossible for a French guy’

Benoit Saint Denis sees a win over Dustin Poirier as just the beginning of what’s to come for his career.

The lightweight contenders clash in the five-round co-main event of UFC 299 in Miami this Saturday, and there’s plenty on the line for both fighters. Saint Denis looks for his sixth straight win, while Poirier — a permanent fixture in the MMA Fighting Global Rankings — fights to hold on to his spot in the lightweight top five.

Saint Denis proudly represents his home country of France, and on a recent episode of The MMA Hour, he was asked about former Glory Kickboxing champion and current PFL standout Cédric Doumbé anointing himself as the face of French MMA.

“Cédric is the face of kickboxing, but he’s a newcomer in MMA,” Saint Denis said. “He’s the face of kickboxing in France, one of the faces with Yohan Lidon. We have a lot of tough guys, guys that have beaten him that he has beaten as well. … He’s an exciting fighter. He has punching power and he’s making his place inside the French area, and I hope he is going to be able to showcase all his GLORY Kickboxing skills. But I believe in the rankings, and for now it’s Ciryl Gane, the face of French MMA.

“Benoit Saint Denis is one day going to be champion of the lightweight division, he will be the face of French MMA and maybe even more.”

The Poirier matchup came as a surprise to some who wondered why the former UFC interim lightweight champ would accept a matchup with a dangerous, but less accomplished fighter. Saint Denis has finished his past five opponents and opened as the odds-on favorite to beat Poirier.

Saint Denis was thrilled to receive the call to fight such an esteemed opponent.

“I was really happy,” Saint Denis said. “He’s a tough guy, a lot of tough guys in this division, in the top five. It is surprising to a lot of people that I’m facing him, but I think it’s one of the only weight classes where it’s surprising to face a top five opponent after five finishes in a row. I’m really happy. He has a lot of experience. He’s a former interim champion, of course, so it’s really going to be a test match for me. It’s a big test to see if I’m ready for whatever is next behind Poirier.”

Should he defeat Poirier, Saint Denis said there are plenty of interesting options ahead of him, but declined to specify who could be his next target. When asked if he foresees a title opportunity before the end of the year, Saint Denis kept his cards close to his chest.

“Of course, there is always a plan,” Saint Denis said. “You can plan as much as you want, but when you are starting to get kicked in the face or punched in the face, you never know if the plan is going to work. We will see. But yeah, of course, there is always something to think about. My future as an MMA fighter is going to have a big step on the ninth of March and let’s see what it’s going to be.”

“It’s a concept we have in France, ‘Nothing is impossible for a French guy,’” he added. “So let’s see.”