Conor McGregor’s Likely Next Opponent: ‘I’ve Always Felt It’

Conor McGregor

Getty Conor McGregor celebrates after a first-round knockout victory over Jose Aldo in their featherweight title fight during UFC 194 on December 12, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

A massive fight is potentially in the works as top-Ranked UFC lightweight Dustin Poirier has his sights set on fighting Conor McGregor. Last week, “Notorious” revealed that he accepted a fight with “The Diamond,” with the caveat that the bout would happen inside the UFC’s Octagon before the end of the year.

In an exclusive interview with Teddy Atlas shared on Monday, Poirier confirmed that he wanted to fight McGregor before the end of the year, as well. With the UFC lightweight championship being decided on October 24 against champ Khabib Nurmagomedov and interim champ Justin Gaethje, the winner of The Diamond vs. McGregor could determine the next fighter to receive a shot at the title.

ALL the latest UFC news straight to your inbox! Subscribe to the Heavy on UFC newsletter here!

Defeating Notorious also allows Poirier to right and wrong. He was defeated by the Irishman in 2014 by first-round TKO when they fought at featherweight. Although Poirier admits the first fight will be something he thinks about, he has grown exponentially as a fighter mentally and physically in the six years removed from the bout.

“That’s going to be hanging over my head, for sure,” Poirier said. “But, also to combat that is my experience, and my mindset is different. I’m not a young kid mad at the world, mad at critics, kids anymore. I know who I am. There’s no enemy within, so there’s no enemy outside. I’m comfortable with who I am, I believe in my skills. I think before the last fight, a lot of the trash talk, a lot of the critics, I walked into the combat arena feeling like I was fighting more than the man across from me.

“I felt like I was fighting the organization, the fans, the critics, the media. I felt like I was fighting everyone. I had something to prove to everyone and I’m more mature now in the fight game, this isn’t that scenario, this is me versus Conor McGregor, that’s what it is, simple. I know what I’m capable of and I’m confident in my skills. It’s just a completely different thing going into this one.”

Poirier Says the Match Isn’t About Revenge, Plans on Improving to 3-0 in Rematches

Poirier said that the fight isn’t about revenge, it’s “about life and fighting, and goals and destiny. That’s what it’s about, it’s not about revenge. I’m not trying to get even with this guy.”

The Diamond told Atlas that he is 2-0 in rematches, defeating both Max Holloway and Eddie Alvarez in their respective rematches. “I plan on going 3-0,” Poirier said. “It’s that simple. I want to put in the work, show up focused, let nothing from the outside creep inside this vessel and I’m going to perform.”

The Diamond confirmed that he’s had McGregor one his radar since losing to him in 2014.

“Any loss on my record I think about meeting those guys, especially a well-known superstar,” Poirier said. “[He’s] one of the biggest guys not in combat sports but in sports and entertainment, period.”

“I’ve always felt it, we’d fight again,” Poirier said. “My previous wrestling coach always told me that I was going to fight him again and he was certain of it. And he told me the same thing about Max Holloway before that was even beginning to be discussed. He always said you’re going to fight Max again, as well. So, I’ve thought of [fighting McGregor] plenty of times.”

McGregor Says He Will Donate $500,000 to The Good Fight Foundation

View this post on Instagram

Aim and Fire. #ElDiamante #Whosnext #PaidInFull

A post shared by Dustin Poirier (@dustinpoirier) on Oct 10, 2020 at 9:41am PDT

Besides having the opportunity to avenge a loss and potentially earn another crack at undisputed lightweight gold, Poirier has another major reason to take the fight with McGregor. Notorious offered to donate $500,000 to Poirier’s charity, The Good Fight Foundation.

“It’s incredible man, it’s perfect,” Poirier told Atlas. “A week ago before this discussion even started,  before negotiations even started, this was the last thing I thought would be happening. But, that’s how the fight things work, especially in the fight business. You never know what’s going to happen.”

Follow the Heavy on UFC Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content

READ NEXT: On UFC Superstar Conor McGregor: ‘Your Going to Fall on Your Face’