Dustin Poirier has spent his career chasing world titles, so he’s never focused that much on a single opponent, although there’s at least one fight he’s wanted that seems unlikely he’ll ever get.
After his matchup against Nate Diaz in 2018 was scrapped, Poirier continued that fight. But despite his best efforts, the fight just didn’t materialize.
Now Diaz is ready to leave the UFC on a free hand after fighting out his latest contract, raising doubts that he will ever compete in the promotion again, let alone Poirier facing the cage.
While it doesn’t exactly consume him, Poirier admits he wishes the Diaz fight had happened before he left the UFC.
“I’ve always wanted to fight Nate,” Poirier said during the UFC 280 media day. “We’ve tried to do that a few times. It always fell apart. It sucks that he’s gone now and I won’t get the chance to fight him. But it is what it is, the sport goes on.”
While Diaz might be the one who got away, Poirier rarely escapes questions about his potential to face Conor McGregor again, even after back-to-back wins against the two-division former UFC champion.
These days McGregor has been gaining weight while filming his role in the upcoming street house reboot. There were no signals as to when he would be able to compete again. McGregor was also removed from the UFC’s anti-doping program, meaning he must complete six months of drug testing before he can book a fight.
However, Poirier doesn’t really seem keen on repeating it with McGregor. He’s been there before, has done that and has other goals in the sport than chasing another fight with the Irish superstar.
“I’m not sure,” Poirier said of fighting McGregor again. “You never know in this sport. I don’t know if he’ll come back, in what weight class, I’m not sure. Never say never, but it doesn’t look like it anytime soon. We will see. I fought him three times. I’m trying to get the title.”
Poirier made it clear that his only focus right now is his upcoming fight against Michael Chandler in a featured fight at UFC 281 on Saturday night.
If all goes well and he wins, the 33-year-old lightweight will be hoping to get back in the running to become champion again, where his path became a bit clearer after Islam Makhachev defeated Charles Oliveira for the 155lb title to gain.
Poirier, who fell against Oliveira in his last bout, praised Makhachev for a job well done, even if it wasn’t the result he expected.
“I was surprised,” Poirier said of Makhachev’s win. “I didn’t have a dog in the fight but I thought Charles would make it. But congratulations to Islam, it is the world champion.
“[Islam is a] tough guy, on a streak. Looks like he’s putting it all together, making it all right. What bad can I say about him?”
It seems unlikely Poirier would get a shot at Makhachev even in a win over Chandler, although Oliveira, who is no longer holding the belt, definitely puts him closer to that opportunity. However, he knows better than most that there is no such thing as a straight line to a title in the UFC, so he doesn’t spend much time trying to figure out what’s next.
“Nothing is ever clear in this sport, especially at lightweight,” said Poirier. “But [Islam Makhachev becoming champion] definitely opens doors. There are new opportunities, other fights make sense now, new enemies. We will see. None of that matters until Saturday night.
“I’m not sure [who’s next], whatever the next contender is. I have no idea. The landscape is constantly changing. But first things first, I have to raise my hand Saturday night.”
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