UFC president, Dana White has claimed the former interim lightweight titleholder, Dustin ‘The Diamond’ Poirier didn’t want a targeted UFC 254 clash with Tony Ferguson next month on ‘Fight Island’ – amid the recent financial woes between the former and the promotion.
The UFC was targeting a high-stakes, potential lightweight title eliminator between Poirier and Ferguson to take co-headlining status at UFC 254 on October 24th. – beneath a 155-pound title unification clash between Khabib Nurmagomedov, and Justin Gaethje. Confirming his removal from the planned pairing, Poirier explained that he and the UFC failed to come to terms on a deal which would pit him with Ferguson.
Speaking with media following Dana White’s Contenders Series 33 last night, White gave his thoughts on the failed matchup, claiming Poirier didn’t want to take the fight opposite his fellow former interim best.
“Listen, I like Dustin (Poirier),” White said. “I’m not going to sit up here and say anything negative about Dustin, he’s a great kid. I don’t know if it was he didn’t want to fight in Abu Dhabi or what his deal was – he didn’t want to fight.“
“Listen, there’s a lot of different ways to turn down a fight. Negotiating yourself out of one is one of the ways you can do it. So for whatever reason, he didn’t want to take this fight. Only he knows that.“
White went on to explain how the promotion is working on a different matchup for Ferguson which would keep him on the UFC 254 card, with clashes with New Zealand striking ace, Dan Hooker, and former three-time Bellator lightweight champion, Michael Chandler recently floated.
“I told you we’ve got a fight (for Ferguson),” White explained. “I don’t see Tony not accepting the fight.“
Poirier recently returned to the winner’s enclosure following his lightweight title unification loss to the above mentioned, Khabib at UFC 242 last September – scoring a unanimous judging win over the previously noted, Hooker at UFC Fight Night Vegas in June.
For Ferguson, whomever he ends up standing opposite at UFC 254 – the 10th. Planet Jiu-Jitsu black belt is attempting to find his way back to the win column following the snapping of his twelve-fight win streak at UFC 249 in May, losing via fifth-round knockout to Gaethje in an interim gold headliner.