Following Dustin Poirier’s jaw dropping win at UFC on FOX 29, “The Diamond’s” calling for a title shot, and Dana White hasn’t shot down the idea.
As you know, Poirier faced Justin Gaethje in the card’s headliner on Saturday, and was everyone expected would be the case, the fight was an absolute, barnburner. As round three came to an end, it looked like all the leg kicks Gaethje had landed had paved the way to a win, but Poirier proceeded to stop the former WSOF champ in round four.
Well, after the bout, Poirier relayed the following, while discussing what he hopes comes next (quote via MMA Junkie):
“I’ve paid my dues,” Poirier said. “I’ve put nothing but hard work in. I’ve been close to the mountaintop and I’ve been knocked down. I’ve shown resilience and fortitude and I’ve done it over and over again to put myself back in the position I’m in, and I’m hitting my stride as a father, a fighter, a husband and a person. I’m ready to go, and gold is next. I smell it. I feel it in the air.”
Now, when you consider the current title shot picture in the lightweight division, and that it includes names like Tony Ferguson and Conor McGregor, one might think Poirier’s further down the list. But, during the post-fight show on FS 2, White had this to say, when asked if Poirier’s in the title shot mix (quote via MMA Junkie):
“Absolutely (he’s a title contender),” White said. “He’s definitely in there. He was one of the guys we were thinking about calling last to take the fight (at UFC 223), but we didn’t want to screw up this event. Thank God we didn’t.”
Yup. The world is a better place today, because the UFC proceeded with last night’s bout. But, in terms of the championship implications of Poirier’s win, what’s the take away here?
In a scenario where injuries and contractual issues don’t exist, Poirier certainly isn’t the frontrunner. Obviously if Conor McGregor does come to terms with the UFC, and is free to fight Khabib Nurmagomedov, then the promotion will go with that fight. That bout will be absolutely massive, especially now, following McGregor’s now infamous media day incident prior to UFC 223.
But, if that doesn’t happen, and if Ferguson remains sidelined due to his recent knee surgery, then Poirier could very well be the next man to face Nurmagomedov.