Seemingly inserting himself into prime position for a lightweight title fight in his next Octagon outing off the back of his UFC 257 knockout win over Conor McGregor, number-one ranked lightweight, Dustin Poirier has given his blessing on a vacant title clash of Charles Oliveira and Michael Chandler — claiming he’s happy to sit back and let the division play out.
Assuming the top rank in a stacked 155-pound division, Lafayette favourite, Poirier avenged his 2014 knockout loss to former two-weight world champion, McGregor, stopping the Dubliner with a second-round barrage in Abu Dhabi, UAE two weeks ago.
Exacting a masterful gameplan of chopping down the 32-year-old’s southpaw lead leg and firing off wicked counters, in particular, a check right hook which seemed to find its mark more often than not, a much more resilient lightweight Poirier finished McGregor at the fence midway through the second round, in a standout performance.
Leapfrogging fellow former interim titleholder, Justin Gaethje into the number-one spot at lightweight, and with the fighting career of current undisputed champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov unclear, although retirement plans noted last October seem likely to remain in place, Poirier is most definitely primed to take one side of a vacant title Octagon affair next.
However, if the promotion hopes to push forward with a vacant title outing between himself and floated opponent, the above mentioned, Chandler, American Top Team stape, Poirier has already distanced himself from that bout.
Chandler, a former three-time Bellator 155-pound gold holder landed in the UFC on the same card as Poirier’s stoppage win over McGregor, finishing would-be common-opposition, Dan Hooker with a first-round ground-and-pound barrage following a knockdown, but Poirier wants to see the Sanford MMA trainee lay out a body of work in the Octagon first.
Also noting his interest in a potential rubber-match against McGregor, as well as a reworked pairing with the brash Nate Diaz following a cancelled UFC 230 pairing, the ball seems to be in Poirier’s court now regarding his next Octagon walk.
Speaking with MMA Junkie recently, Poirier detailed how if the promotion wants to work toward a vacant title affair between deserved contender Oliveira and newcomer, Chandler, Poirier has no qualms toward it.
“I want to be the world champion, and Charles (Oliveria) is a guy that’s paid his dues,” Poirier said. “He’s earned where he’s at, no doubt about it. Let him and (Michael) Chandler fight for the belt. If they (the UFC) want Chandler in there for the title, and he’s calling for the title. Let them fight for the belt. I’ll take a step back and just watch.“
For Poirier, the Louisianan had been involved in some rather public negotiation fallouts with the promotion toward the close of last year, with potential matchups against former interim titleholder, Tony Ferguson, and even Chandler failing to come to fruition, due to a financial issue between Poirier and the organization.
While Poirier has suggested Oliveira and Chandler battle for the vacant crown, it would seem wholly unjust if the former is left out of the conversation in favour of a matchup of the latter.