Now officially booked to take on Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 242, Dustin Poirier is just one win away from undisputed champion status.
It'll be no mean feat though, with the undefeated Nurmagomedov (27-0) entering proceedings after eleven consecutive UFC wins. Nonetheless, Poirier enters in impressive form himself, going unbeaten in his last six and most recently, becoming Interim titleholder in a memorable affair opposite Featherweight kingpin Max Holloway. Whoever does leave Abu Dhabi as Lightweight Champion will have a list of contenders waiting though, with Tony Ferguson extending his historic win-streak to twelve this past weekend in an enthralling battle opposite Donald 'Cowboy' Cerrone.
Speaking to ESPN, Poirier gave his own take on the 'fight of the night' clash. “I watched it. It was a fun fight to watch. I thought Tony started pulling away, Donald started wearing a lot of damage and getting busted up. I thought Tony was starting to take over the fight. It wouldn’t have been interesting to see if he would’ve kept pulling away in the 3rd round. I thought they looked kinda slow and I don’t know, I’m focused on Khabib right now but I think I beat everybody in the division.”
The fight's conclusion was certainly disappointing, with Cerrone's grotesquely swollen eye forcing the doctor's stoppage after two chaotic rounds. Considering that, a rematch seems possible but Poirier isn't so certain. “I’m not sure what Donald is ranked but if say they did a rematch and Donald won the fight, obviously Tony’s the next contender so that would shake up things right? We’ll see, we’ll see what happens. I don’t know if they are gonna do a rematch. Sometimes things are said and they don’t happen. I don’t know, we’ll see in the next few months I guess or next couple of weeks."
Regardless, Poirier's fight with Nurmagomedov is a pivotal one, leaving 155 lbs with one clear champion. That element isn't lost on Poirier, hoping to seize the moment on September 7th. “This is a huge fight. With Khabib being suspended, the division’s kinda been murky. There wasn’t a clear view of which way it was gonna take. And when Khabib comes back, September 7th, after that night there’s only going to be one champ and the next contenders can fall in line. It’ll be a little bit of a clearer picture of the future for the division.”
UFC 242 takes place in Abu Dhabi on September 7th, airing on ESPN+ PPV.
For Poirier's full interview with ESPN, click here.