Former interim UFC lightweight champion, Dustin ‘The Diamond’ Poirier has reportedly rejected the opportunity to welcome recent signee, Michael Chandler to the Octagon – out of respect to targeted foe, Tony ‘El Cucuy’ Ferguson, after the latter campaigned for Poirier to receive sufficient payment for a UFC 254 meeting.
Poirier and Ferguson were initially targeted to meet in the co-headliner of UFC 254 on October 24 from ‘Fight Island’ – with Poirier and the organization failing to come to terms on a deal which would have the two stand opposite each other. With the pairing ultimately scrapped, UFC president, Dana White confirmed that Ferguson would remain on the card – with that prospect, unfortunately, falling to the wayside as well.
With the promotion’s signing of former three-time Bellator lightweight best, Chandler yesterday evening, White explained how the Missouri native would also travel to Yas Island for the pay-per-view event – acting as backup for the lightweight title unification clash between Khabib Nurmagomedov, and Justin Gaethje.
While Chandler won’t officially compete at the event unless either Khabib or Gaethje are forced from the headlining tie, ESPN MMA reporter, Ariel Helwani reported that the promotion had offered Poirier a matchup with Chandler, with the former rejecting the tie – citing loyalty to the above noted, Ferguson instead, after another payment stumbling block.
“According to sources, UFC offered Dustin Poirier the Michael Chandler fight yesterday but they couldn’t come to terms. One issue was the same as before – pay – but also sources say DP (Dustin Poirier) wanted to show the same loyalty to Tony Ferguson, who advocated for him both publicly/privately.“
Poirier recently returned to winning ways following surgery after a slew of hip injuries and a UFC 242 lightweight title unification defeat to the above mentioned Khabib last September also on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Matching with New Zealand striking ace, Dan ‘The Hangman’ Hooker at UFC Fight Night Vegas in June – Poirier hit his stride midway through the headliner to take a unanimous decision win in a memorable clash.