On January 23, Dustin Poirier evened the score against his longtime rival Conor McGregor, finishing the Irishman by TKO during the main event of UFC 257. The two top lightweights are now 1-1 against each other, with each fighter winning via stoppage.
The victory last weekend was a massive feather in “The Diamond’s” cap and once the rankings updated, he ascended to the No. 1 spot in the lightweight rankings. With the fate of UFC lightweight champ Khabib Nurmagomedov’s career unknown, Poirier is firmly entrenched at the top of the division.
On Sunday, MMA Junkie’s Mike Bohn shared an interview with Poirier giving thoughts on the lightweight division and where he stands.
“I’ve got a target on my back,” Poirier said via the outlet. “(I’m a former) interim world champion, I just knocked out Conor McGregor, and now I’m No. 1 and the only person above me, (Khabib Nurmagomedov), might never fight again. People want to climb that ladder, and in order to do that, you’ve got to beat the guys at the top. You’ve got to beat the next guys in line, so I understand why the target is on my back, and I wear it proudly.
“I am the uncrowned lightweight champ. If Khabib’s out, I am the best in the division. Former interim world champion, former title challenger. I just took out a two-division former world champion. I am the champ. I know that.”
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Poirier Hasn’t Spoken to the UFC About a Possible Trilogy Bout With McGregor
While speaking with ESPN’s Ariel Helwani the Monday after UFC 257, McGregor’s head coach John Kavanagh said “Notorious” was interested in an immediate rematch with Poirier, hopefully taking place before summer. Kavanagh also mentioned that the team would prefer if the vacant lightweight title was on the line.
During the interview with Bohn, Poirier was asked for his thoughts on Kavanagh’s comments.
“It would have been ideal Saturday night,” Poirier said about having the lightweight title on the line.
Bohn then asked Poirier if he would be interested in a trilogy fight with McGregor next.
“It’s tough to call,” Poirier said. “I don’t know what they’re saying behind closed doors, what’s going on with that. And I haven’t been reached out yet by the UFC or by Conor’s management about the trilogy fight. So I’m not sure what’s going to happen. I haven’t been reached out to by the UFC about anything.”
Poirier Willing to Watch Charles Oliveira & Michael Chandler Fight for the Belt
During the UFC 257 post-fight press conference, Poirier said that Michael Chandler doesn’t deserve a title shot with only one victory in the UFC. During the co-main event of UFC 257, Chandler made his promotional debut against Dan Hooker and knocked him out in the first round. He is now ranked No. 4 in the lightweight division.
One fighter who The Diamond believes should compete for the lightweight strap should it be vacated is No. 3 ranked Charles Oliveira. “Du Bronx” is currently riding an eight-fight win streak and is coming off a victory over Tony Ferguson in December 2020.
“I want to be the world champion, and Charles is a guy that’s paid his dues,” Poirier said. “He’s earned where he’s at, no doubt about it.”
If the UFC wants to catapult Chandler into a title fight, Poirier confirmed that he would “sit back” and watch him fight Oliveira.
“Let [Oliveira] and Chandler fight for the belt,” Poirier continued. “If they want Chandler in there for the title, and he’s calling for the title. Let them fight for the belt. I’ll take a step back and just watch.”
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Full List of Results From UFC 257
See the results from Saturday’s UFC 257 below:
Lightweight: Dustin Poirier def. Conor McGregor via second-round TKO
Lightweight: Michael Chandler def. Dan Hooker via first-round TKO
Women’s Flyweight: Joanne Calderwood def. Jessica Eye via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Middleweight: Makhmud Muradov def. Andrew Sanchez via third-round TKO
Women’s Strawweight: Marina Rodriguez def. Amanda Ribas via second-round TKO
157-Pound Catchweight: Arman Tsarukyan def. Matt Frevola via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26)
Middleweight: Brad Tavares def. Antonio Carlos Junior via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Women’s Bantamweight: Julianna Pena def. Sara McMann via third-round rear-naked choke
Light Heavyweight: Marcin Prachnio def. Khalil Rountree Jr. via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Early Preliminary Card
150-Pound Catchweight: Movsar Evloev def. Nik Lentz via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
Flyweight: Amir Albazi def. Zhalgas Zhumagulov via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)