Former interim lightweight champion Dustin Poirier put on a clinic in his fight against Conor McGregor in the main event of UFC 257 and now has decided to step back for a while before fighting again for the title.
Poirier (27-6 MMA, 19-5 UFC) redeemed one of the most noteworthy losses of his career in his rematch with McGregor (22-5 MMA, 10-3 UFC) earlier this month. He scored a second-round TKO of the former two-division champion on “Fight Island” in Abu Dhabi, and now the future appears to be very bright for him.
Poirier executed his game plan perfectly and invested in low calf kicks early in the fight and also managed to score a takedown early in the fight. While he also ate a couple of hard shots from McGregor early on, he ultimately the calf kicks caught up to the Irishmen and he got knocked out for the first time in his professional MMA career.
Dustin Poirier on his fighting future
In the aftermath of the fight, Dustin Poirier has been the center of attention in the lightweight division. McGregor’s team has expressed interest in a rematch, Nate Diaz said he wants to reschedule their scratched matchup from UFC 230 in November 2018. Michael Chandler has pitched the idea of a vacant lightweight title bout, as has Charles Oliveira. And Tony Ferguson also wants a piece of “The Diamond.”
Dustin Poirier said he enjoys everyone wanting to fight him, and he’s well aware that he’s currently the man at 155 pounds.
“I’ve got a target on my back,” Poirier told MMA Junkie on Sunday. “(I’m a former) interim world champion, I just knocked out Conor McGregor, and now I’m No. 1 and the only person above me, (Khabib Nurmagomedov), might never fight again. People want to climb that ladder and to do that, you’ve got to beat the guys at the top. You’ve got to beat the next guys in line, so I understand why the target is on my back, and I wear it proudly.
“I am the uncrowned lightweight champ. If Khabib’s out, I am the best in the division. Former interim world champion, former title challenger. I just took out a two-division former world champion. I am the champ. I know that.”
The only thing that differentiates Poirier’s word from the reality of the situation is that he doesn’t have ownership of the UFC lightweight title. That still belongs to Nurmagomedov, who seemingly has closed the door on making a return to the octagon after retiring from MMA following his title defense against Justin Gaethje at UFC 254 in October.
Poirier thinks Oliveira, who is riding an eight-fight winning streak in the division, is a different story, though. But if the UFC doesn’t want to move forward with more sensible options, Poirier said he’ll pull himself out of the equation.
“I want to be the world champion, and Charles is a guy that’s paid his dues,” Poirier said. “He’s earned where he’s at, no doubt about it. Let him and Chandler fight for the belt. If they want Chandler in there for the title, and he’s calling for the title. Let them fight for the belt. I’ll take a step back and just watch.”
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