Dustin Poirier stamped his ticket to a title unification fight against current UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, which is expected to go down in September of this year in Abu Dhabi, after defeating Max Holloway at UFC 236 last Saturday night (April 13, 2019) to win the interim title.
Shortly after Dustin’s win, Conor McGregor took to social media to congratulate “The Diamond” on capturing his first-ever world title, and then proceeded to play matchmaker, suggesting Nate Diaz would be next for Poirier after their original matchup booked for UFC 230 fell through.
So in the midst of a congratulatory note, “Notorious” is obviously telling Dustin he will have to take a backseat to a rematch between he and Khabib. Indeed, Nurmagomedov defeated McGregor at UFC 229 last year to retain his 155-pound title. Since the defeat was pretty much one-sided, most didn’t feel an immediate rematch was necessary, but as we’ve seen in the past, UFC isn’t opposed to flipping the script to turn a profit.
And a do-over between “The Eagle” and “Notorious” is sure to be a box office success. And prior to the his fight against Holloway, Dustin knew that locking down a title fight against Khabib wasn’t a lock.
“No I have not been promised that. But I assume when I get the belt around my waist that’s what it means. That’s what the interim title means, it means you’re next,” said Poirier on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show prior to his fight at UFC 236.
But to the relief of Dustin, the promotion put wheels in motion for a title unification fight between he and Nurmagomedov later this year after his victory. Even Khabib himself assured Poirier he would be next. But as long as Conor is lurking, the threat of losing it is somehow always there. Just ask Colby Covington, who didn’t get a title unification match against Tyron Woodley while he was interim king. Instead, the fight went to Kamaru Usman, who defeated “The Chosen One” at UFC 235.
If you ask Dana White, he will tell you that fight was offered time and again to Colby, but he refused to sign on the dotted line for one reason or another. That prompted “Chaos” to invade Las Vegas to confront White during a blackjack game. While White wasn’t too thrilled, it did garner Covington a one-on-one conversation with the boss and assurance he would be next in line for a shot the 170-pound title.
Still, I don’t think it will have to get to that point with Poirier, and if UFC and Dana White are true to their word, Poirier — not Conor — will be facing Khabib for right to be called undisputed champion. That means McGregor will need a dance partner to stay busy with in the interim. And the options are plentiful.
There is always the possibility of booking a trilogy fight between he and Nate Diaz after they split the first two meetings. Plus, Donald Cerrone has been lobbying to get a shot at McGregor, which at one time Conor seemed interested in. Furthermore, UFC standout Justin Gaethje has recently been ramping up his efforts to get “Notorious” to step into the cage with him. So at the end of the day, Conor will have to pick of the litter once he is able to return, just as long as it’s not Khabib.
But as we have seen time and time again, nothing is official until the contracts are signed, sealed and delivered.
Mystic Mac on Instagram HERE