As the MMA world continues to wait and see what’s going to unfold with the UFC’s lightweight title, Dustin Poirier’s made it crystal clear he’s not happy. So much so, “Diamond” is calling for his release.
When 2019 began, the consensus was that after the Nevada Commission ruled on what suspension it was going to hand Khabib Nurmagomedov for the UFC 229 incident, the lightweight title shot picture would start moving soon after. Well, although we found out last month that the champ has been suspended for 9 months, retroactively, it remains to be seen when Nurmagmomedov will fight next.
Since his teammates Zubaira Tukhugov and Abubakar Nurmagomedov were suspended for one year and fined $25,000 each as a result of their actions during the brawl, they won’t be eligible to fight until October, 2019. As a result, Nurmagomedov is reportedly not interested in fighting until November…
Well, for some time now, Poirier has been pushing for the UFC to book some big stake fights in the division, and he repeated that call after Khabib’s suspension was announced. As March nears, there’s been talk that the UFC is looking at having Conor McGregor fight Donald Cerrone, but nothing has been announced. Likewise for other top contenders like Tony Ferguson, Al Iaquinta and obviously, Poirier.
More recently, it’s been reported that the UFC was looking at having Poirier fight Iaquinta on April 13th. The latter had this to say about the situation during a recent episode of the “UFC Unfiltered” podcast (quote via MMA Junkie):
“I hope the UFC can reach down into their pockets and make him happy to take the fight,” Iaquinta said. “Because from what I’ve been hearing, it’s going to be Conor (McGregor) and (Donald) ‘Cowboy” (Cerrone) in the summer, (and) Max Holloway is going to come up (from featherweight) to fight (Tony) Ferguson for an interim belt. So that leaves me and him.”
Poirier also confirmed to MMA Junkie that it will take a bump in pay, before he agrees to face Iaquinta at UFC 236. In addition, he also recently tweeted out this:
These guys should just release me.
Now, when you consider that Poirier has gone 8-1, with 1 no-contest in his last 10 fights, and that he’s ranked #3 at 155, his frustration here is pretty understandable. From a meritocratic perspective, he has an extremely strong case to be fighting for the interim belt, if indeed, the UFC is planning to put one up.
But, as we all know, the UFC is a business, and chances are a fight between Ferguson and Holloway would move more pay-per-view buys at this stage. After all, Holloway is the 145 champ, and both he and “El Cucuy” are on two of the most impressive runs in the entire sport.
You would think Poirier would jump at the chance of facing McGregor again. But, since the latter has expressed an interest in facing Cerrone, and because he holds a win over Poirier, that fight doesn’t appear to be in the cards. So, hopefully, the UFC tables some more cash and we get to see Iaquinta – Poirier, if indeed, these other match-ups are in the works.