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Khabib Nurmagomedov doubles down on September title fight, says Poirier 'won temporary belt'

The much-crowded UFC lightweight division finally seems to have some clarity as we quickly approach the second half of 2019.

After defeating UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway earlier this month at UFC 236 to claim the interim lightweight title, Dustin Poirier will now reserve a spot on his calendar this September for a title unification bout with current 155-pound king Khabib Nurmagomedov, who is currently serving a nine-month suspension for his role in UFC 229’s post-fight brawl. Khabib’s absence is the reason why Poirier and Holloway squared off for the interim title in the first place.

With a future showdown on the horizon (pending any unforeseen injuries or Conor McGregor rematches), Khabib and Poirier are now free to start promoting their lightweight title unification bout. While Nurmagomedov already messaged “Diamond” about their September clash, the undefeated Russian champion doubled down on his planned return to the cage during an M-1 Apeha Q&A event, per BJPENN.com.

“Poirier won a temporary belt. Temporary,” said Khabib. “I have a real one. The only thing that attracts me in this battle is the new belt. It’s pretty. And the rival is a very good one, we cannot underestimate him, he defeated many top fighters. In the UFC they say that I will fight Poirer in a little more than five months. It is difficult to negotiate with me, I am with my principles. I hope the negotiations will go well and in September we will fight.”

Khabib, who last defeated McGregor via fourth-round submission this past October, originally stated that he wouldn’t be returning to action until November amidst one-year suspensions for his teammates also involved in UFC 229’s brawl. It seems as if “Eagle” is willing to change those plans up and defend his 155-pound belt this September as long as contract negotiations with UFC go well. Considering Khabib is coming off a record-breaking showing alongside McGregor in his last Octagon outing there’s little doubt that a deal for his next fight will get done.

Poirier, who put a stop to Holloway’s 13-fight UFC win streak with a masterful performance in Atlanta earlier this month, is an intriguing test for Khabib. His striking has never looked better, three out of his last four Octagon victories have come against current or former UFC champions, and he’s a suitable threat on the ground who may be able to ward off Khabib’s legendary advancements.

“Diamond” delivered the following message via Twitter about his matchup with Khabib:

"Gonna be a September to remember," wrote Poirier.

If everything goes as planned then Khabib and Poirier should do battle this September. But considering Khabib has been forced out of fights in the past, as well as “Diamond,” nothing is a guarantee moving forward. Fight fans have five months to get through before this lightweight title fight gets underway and in MMA time that’s an eternity.

Until the shit actually hits the fan we’re keeping our fingers crossed.

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