After Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President, Dana White, finally gave up on his efforts to convince Khabib Nurmagomedov to return for one more fight, the promotion tasked Michael Chandler to face Charles Oliveira for the vacant Lightweight title at UFC 262 on May 15, 2021.
But according to White, Dustin Poirier was the man originally offered the chance to compete for the vacant belt — though he didn’t say against who — but “The Diamond” turned it down to face Conor McGregor for a third time (possibly in July).
After all, why fight for the chance to win gold when you can secure a guaranteed mega payday.
“Poirier was offered the fight, but he wanted the Conor rematch, which totally makes sense,” White said during a recent interview with TSN. “Oliveira just came off an incredible win over Tony Ferguson and looked completely dominant against a guy many people thought should have fought Khabib and was the best match up for Khabib.
“Then Chandler came in here like a tornado and looked damn good in his last fight, so this fight made sense,” he added.
One man who feels like he’s being left out of a very busy 155-pound picture is former title contender, Justin Gaethje. In fact. the hard-hitting striker recently stated that he feels he may have “pissed someone off” to get left out in the cold. But, that doesn’t seem to be the case at all because White has something big for him next.
“Well, Gaethje just lost to Khabib, just went for a title run,” White said. “We will get him something good. Whoever wins this title will probably face Justin Gaethje next.”
Of course, with McGregor and Poirier getting ready to tango for a third and final time, it’s almost a certainty that the winner of the fight is going to be in White’s ear about getting the next shot over Gaethje.
Nevertheless, with Khabib stepping away for good, business is really picking up in the stacked Lightweight division, which will provide fight fans with several marquee match ups in 2021 ... and beyond.