Widely expected to meet with two-time foe, former two-weight champion, Conor McGregor in a rubber-match this summer, former interim lightweight championship holder, Dustin Poirier has according to UFC president, Dana White, turned down the opportunity to challenge for vacant spoils, in a bid to round out his trilogy with McGregor.
Drawing the score between the two, level at one apiece in January, Poirier avenged a 2014 knockout loss to McGregor at the featherweight limit — becoming the first to stop the Dubliner with strikes in professional mixed martial arts.
Inserting himself into pole position to challenge for lightweight spoils in his next outing off the back of the knockout win over McGregor, Poirier initially remained coy on if he would be open to a title challenge next, instead noting his interest in an immediate trilogy tie with McGregor, who shared the same thought process.
Last week, Khabib Nurmagomedov officially vacated the undisputed lightweight championship, with the promotion swiftly booking a main event clash between Charles Oliveira and Michael Chandler for UFC 262 on May 15th. in Houston, Texas — with the victor becoming the new titleholder at 155-pounds.
Initially, speculation began to mount as to why Poirier wasn’t considered as an opponent for the streaking, Oliveira, as well as most recent interim champion, Justin Gaethje — with the latter explaining how he was preparing to meet with Chandler on the May 15th. Toyota Centre event.
Tentatively, the promotion is attempting to put together Poirier vs. McGregor III for a date in the summer, with July 10th. earmarked as a potential landing pad for the rubber match — as the former ultimately refuses the chance to clash for vacant gold, instead, pursuing another fight with McGregor.
Speaking at today’s press conference ahead of UFC 260 this weekend, the previously noted, White detailed how Poirier preferred the rubber-match with McGregor rather than a title fight, describing that decision to pursue that fight as “smart“.
“Dustin (Poirier) wants the rematch (with Conor McGregor),” White said. “That’s smart. That’s what he should do. He should take the rematch, take that fight. It’s a big fight for him. (The) kid’s worked hard his whole life, his whole career to be in a position like this. That’s the fight you take. We’ve been in positions like this before with others who have made the mistake of not taking that fight (with McGregor), and (it’s the) biggest mistake of their lives.“
Whilst he’s turning down the opportunity to compete for the undisputed lightweight championship, Poirier is sure to firmly stamp his status as incoming challenger for either Oliveira or Chandler with the win over the SBG mainstay, as well as the lucrative payday that comes with a matchup against McGregor.