After turning Justin Gaethje’s lights out at UFC on FOX 29 this past weekend (Sat., April 14, 2018) in the main event of UFC on FOX 29 (see it), Dustin Poirier took to the mic to call for a Lightweight title fight against recently-crowned division champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.
And Team Khabib was listening.
According to Poirier, Nurmagomedov’s manager reached out to him to express interest in the showdown, telling “The Diamond” that he is indeed next in line for “The Eagle.”
“I think it’s pretty good chances, Tony’s timeline is nine months and we got to see if Conor comes back, maybe he doesn’t. Khabib’s manager reached out to me and told me I’m the next guy in line and they want to fight me,” revealed Poirier on The MMA Hour, saying Russia could be a landing spot for Khabib’s first-ever title defense.
Of course, should Conor McGregor — who has legal matters to tend to, first — make his return to action later this year, it’s safe to say Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) would override Team Khabib’s wishes and book him against “Notorious,” first.
Should that be the case, Poirier says then a rematch against Eddie Alvarez would have to be the backup plan, though he isn’t too interested in it seeing as how “The Underground King” has turned down the do-over five times.
“Like I said in m post-fight, I am not after rematches an I’m not trying to get even with Eddie. I’m trying to be a world champion an grow my savings account for my family and secure my legacy as a UFC world champion, which is what I started fighting to be. I want to be a world champion and I want to be the best in the world.”
According to Dustin, the duo — whose first fight resulted in a no contest at UFC 211 — offered the rematch more recently at UFC 223 as a security measure in case either Tony Ferguson or Khabib bowed out, yet again. And wouldn’t you know it, “El Cucuy” was bounced from the title fight with an injury.
After late replacement Max Holloway was pulled by the New York State Athletic Commission (NSAC), Khabib ultimately faced and defeated Al Iaquinta to become the undisputed lightweight champion (see it). Has Eddie signed on the dotted line to face Poirier, “The Diamond” says the former 155-pound champion would’ve had his opportunity to reclaim his crown.
“The Eddie thing, we tried to get that fight and a lot of things went on behind the scenes in the last few months before me and Justin got booked. I haven't told anybody this, because I didn’t want to talk about it in preparation for my fight, but me an Eddie were offered a rematch on the Brooklyn card that Khabib and Tony Ferguson were on,” said Poirier.
“My management told me pretty much they were trying to book this fight because if they fall out one of you guys were going to replace them. I accepted the fight and Eddie turned it down. This was months ago, Eddie is ranked higher than me and he could’ve probably fought for the belt.”
For now, Poirier -- who is riding a three fight win streak and owns the No. 5 spot on the rankings -- will sit back to see what the promotion and McGregor decide to do next. But if Nurmagomedov and “The Diamond” have their way, they’ll be doing the dance later this year.