No. 5 UFC lightweight Dustin Poirier scored his biggest UFC win when he stopped oncoming freight train Justin Gaethje (full highlights here) in the main event of last night’s (Sat., April 14, 2018) UFC on FOX 29 from the Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona.
The victory over the fan favorite slugger has Poirier on the outside looking in on the very top of the confusing UFC lightweight title picture, but in his post-fight interview, ‘The Diamond’ proclaimed he was already at the top by calling out current champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.
It’s a fight that Dana White said would be a possibility, yet with a supremely lucrative grudge match against Conor McGregor looming for ‘The Eagle,’ it’d be more than a bit surprising to see Poirier get the next crack at the belt, especially with the damage he absorbed to his right leg last night.
So a rematch with former champion Eddie Alvarez, with whom Poirier shared a controversial no contest at last May’s UFC 211, has been pointed at as the next logical step for the surging ‘Diamond.’
He isn’t looking to settle old scores, however. During his post-fight scrum via MMA Fighting, Poirier said he has his mind on one thing – the championship gold – and doesn’t care about rematches with Alvarez or McGregor, who knocked him out after a heated build-up to their match at 2014’s UFC 178:
“I want to fight for gold, man,” Poirier said. “I’m not chasing rematches with Conor, rematches with Eddie, rematches with anybody. That’s not my goal. My goal is not to get even with these guys. My goal is to prosper and be a world champion and make money and retire and say I did it.”
His targeted path as a prizefighter an understandable one, it’s it’s a great idea to make as much money as possible in as short amount of time as he can in today’s cutthroat MMA business.
However, with a clearly damaged leg after his battle with “The Highlight,” Poirier could be facing some significant time away from the cage. That timing could potentially put him on a collision course with former interim champion Tony Ferguson, who had knee surgery last week after tearing his LCL fulfilling media obligations six days before his scheduled UFC 223 match-up with Nurmagomedov.
Khabib has discussed a November return himself, which could also work out for Poirier if the huge bout with McGregor doesn’t work. If it does for some reason, most feel Poirier would be ragdolled by the Dagestani’s mat skills, but “The Diamond” said many would be surprised by his skills in that area:
“I feel like my wrestling and jiu-jitsu is so underrated,” Poirier said. “People have no idea and I would love for a chance to show you.”
Underrated or not, they’d obviously have to be world-class if he wanted to have a legit shot at handing ‘The Eagle’ his first loss.
It seems like McGregor’s fight for now, and it probably should be. With his ‘Notorious’ fighting future still up in the air, just don’t be shocked to see ‘The Diamond’ slide into a title shot sometime soon.