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Dustin Poirier names Nate Diaz as the one who got away

Poirier and Diaz circled each other for nearly five years, but in the end, Nate left UFC without ever fighting “The Diamond.”

UFC 25th Anniversary Press Conference Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Anyone with half a brain would tell you that Dustin Poirier vs. Nate Diaz is a banger of a fight, and that UFC should have booked it when it had the chance for Diaz’s last fight with the promotion at UFC 279 in Sept. 2022.

Instead, UFC tried to bury Diaz on the way out, putting him up against Khamzat Chimaev. That plan went completely sideways after Chimaev flubbed his weight cut and showed up 7.5 pounds over the Welterweight limit, forcing a complete last-minute shuffle of the pay-per-view (PPV) card.

Diaz ended up fighting Tony Ferguson, which was cool and all ... but what we should have gotten in the first place was Dustin vs. Nate.

That’s a feeling Poirier agrees with. In a new Bloody Elbow interview with Poirier as part of UFC’s Timex partnership, “The Diamond” was asked who he’d like to fight next. He started out his answer still wistful about the Diaz fight, which slipped through his fingers.

“Man, I really wanted to fight Nate before he left the company,” Poirier said. “You know we tried to make it happen a few times. It just never came together. Something always happened.”

UFC 279 was the obvious time to make the fight, but Poirier and Diaz were dancing around each other for much longer than that. For the entire time that Diaz sat on the sidelines (frozen out as UFC tried to compel him to re-sign), he and Poirier bandied back-and-forth with insults, potential dates and general fight hype.

Before that, the two were nearly set to fight at UFC 230 in Nov. 2018 for the company’s annual Madison Square Garden event. The promotion even had a press conference and face off for it before negotiations between UFC and Diaz broken down.

“He wanted it, he just couldn’t come to terms with UFC,” Poirier explained on Twitter one year later. “They offered us the main event at MSG, but he would only agree if it was on his terms. I was tired of playing games with the guy and that’s when I decided to address an injury I had been dealing with.”

But, there’s no use crying over spilled milk. What about opponents still under contract with UFC? Poirier admitted no one was particularly exciting to him at this time, but a concrete fight offer could change that in a second.

“I’m not sure, man. The guys that are under the roster right now, like names,” he said. “I was just talking about this with someone at the gym. Names aren’t really jumping out to me, but the UFC calling saying, ‘this time, this date,’ that makes me feel different. When it’s real. So sitting back, I don’t know. I don’t know who to fight; what’s going to happen. We’ll just have to see when they call me, how I feel.

“I just want to be excited, I want to be scared, I want to be nervous, and I want to be motivated,” he concluded.

Let’s just hope his next fight is sooner rather than later.

After his loss to Charles Oliveira in Dec. 2021 it took 11 months for “The Diamond” to return, and that inactivity wasn’t by choice. With the two wins over Conor McGregor and the Oliveira fight, 2021 was undoubtedly the biggest year of his career. UFC should crank the momentum back up for Poirier in 2023, if only to make up for their fumbling of the Diaz fight.

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