I was first introduced to Dustin “The Diamond” Poirier the same way as many fans, through the 2011 Documentary Fightville by Petra Epperlein and Michael Tucker. This documentary is a brutally honest examination of what it takes to become successful in life through the lens of a professional mixed martial artist. It explores the hard work and obstacles that must be overcome throughout and I would recommend it to anyone with even the slightest interest in MMA.
At the end of the documentary (Spoiler Alert), Poirier is signed to the UFC (who’d have thought) in which his first fight was against Josh Grispi whom he defeated by decision nearly 100 events ago at UFC 125 in 2011. Now it is one thing to gain interest from a very well shot and put together documentary and it is another thing completely to maintain that level of intrigue and excitement throughout a fight career but that is exactly what Poirier has done. Personally, I believe he flys slightly under the radar as one of the most exciting fighters to watch, it’s always a war when Poirier is involved and that makes for some thrilling fight moments. Not only have there been some big moments but Poirier has rarely shied away from a challenge taking on some of the biggest names in both the 145lb and presently the 155lb UFC divisions. Max Holloway, Cub Swanson, Eddie Alvarez, Anthony Pettis and of course Conor McGregor, The body of work is impressive and although not all in his favour has led to him culminating an impressive 23-5 (1) record and a perennial challenger status.
Some obnoxiously loud highlights for a little eye break, who doesn’t love a jaw swinging punch compilation?!
As some may be aware this past weekend at UFC on Fox Fight Night Glendale Poirier was scheduled to fight fellow lightweight and certified lunatic (I love his style but come on, it’s crazy!) Justin Gaethje. When these two big hitters collided we were sure to have fireworks and that is exactly what happened. In a massive round main event war that lasted into the fourth round, the two traded enough to show up on the FTSE 100 (or would it be Dow? Who am I kidding, I don’t know anything about stocks) and earn a very easy fight of the night bonus. In the end, Poirier won out by TKO amassing an extraordinary 142 significant strikes to the head of Gaethje but also being on the receiving end of 50 significant kicks to the leg leaving him on crutches post-fight.
— The Diamond (@DustinPoirier) April 16, 2018
Everyone knows if you are a lightweight fighter in the UFC and you win a fight you call out the champ regardless of rank. Although this hard and fast rule was not broken by Poirier after some thought it seems like he may have a real opportunity in being granted the fight he asked for. As pointed out by a keen-eyed Reddit user the lightweight division is in a bit of a pickle at the moment and that might be just the thing the Poirier needs. Conor McGregor is currently awaiting a court date scheduled for 14th June which you would imagine puts him out of organising a fight until his dolly related matters are settled. Tony Ferguson is also out on injury and will need a lay off in order to rehabilitate his knee post surgery. Other top-ranked opponents include Kevin Lee and Edson Barboza who are scheduled to fight this weekend. It is, therefore, a little difficult to predict what will happen in probably the most stacked UFC division but I reckon there are a few options for Poirier which I will rank from most to least likely.
Least likely: Poirier actually gets a title shot.
With Khabib Nurmagomedov having just fought and the free promotion McGregor has been doing for that fight it seems likely that McGregors Octagon return would be for no less than a title shot. This is, of course, providing McGregor doesn’t opt to fight Floyd Mayweather in some sort of shoeless octagon boxing match spectacle which has been rumoured. Even if McGregor decides to continue fighting buses and boxers it is still unlikely in my opinion that Poirier gets the shot. Nurmagomedov is unlikely to fight again until later in the year, roughly November, as he has already fought twice in just over four months with his last barely 10 days ago. It seems likely that by the time he is ready to go again, and I don’t want to say this as much as you don’t want to hear it, we could be getting sold a Nurmagomedov vs. Ferguson fight…again. Pretty easy sell here from the UFC perspective, just says everything you have been saying in the build-up to the last four times these two has been scheduled to fight and then throw in the fact that Ferguson never officially lost the belt.
Calendar and circumstance may just align for Dustin Poirier's next fight to be for the UFC lightweight title. If Khabib Nurmagomedov is targeting November, you've gotta think it comes down to three men: Conor McGregor, Tony Ferguson, + Poirier.
— Jon Anik (@Jon_Anik) April 16, 2018
Still pretty unlikely: Tony Ferguson?
If by some freaky miracle McGregor decides to strap on the gloves and fight Nurmagomedov at some point this year that would leave Ferguson without much to do. It seems plausible that Poirier and Ferguson could meet to decide who would be next to face the champ, hell make it for an interim belt! I think Ferguson would prove a difficult puzzle for Poirier to solve and it would be a refreshing change from the awful Ferguson-Nurmagomedov trash talk.
Slightly more likely: Poirier has to fight Alvarez again.
The last time these two fought at UFC 221 approximately a year ago it was a controversial no contest due to a trio of illegal knees from Alvarez which were deemed to be unintentional by referee Herb Dean, a decision Poirier appealed. With both of these fighters having a 7-2 (1) record through their last 10 fights with both of their last wins coming against Gaethje, it seems fitting that they may need to run this fight back.
Maybe the most likely: Kevin Lee or Edson Barboza.
With these two challengers fighting it out this weekend it seems likely that the winner could be scheduled to fight against Poirier. As they are both top rated guys it would be the last piece of evidence Poirier really needs to cement a shot at the title in the eyes of many. Timeline wise it also matches nicely as they will have a similar period for post-fight layoff and then back into camp.
All in all without the stars aligning in a very unlikely (but certainly not impossible) way I do not expect Poirier to be given a title shot in his next fight. It is difficult to predict especially in such a volatile division however, I believe a further win against a top calibre lightweight will be necessary to sell the UFC brass on the idea of giving Poirier a coveted title shot. Whoever he fights I would recommend to anyone that has made it this far into the article to watch (as if that wasn’t clear already) because this is a man that of late has not been able to produce a boring fight!