Earlier this month, Diaz was scheduled to take on rising prospect Khamzat Chimaev in the headlining bout of UFC 279. However, Chimaev came a huge seven-and-a-half pounds overweight, putting the entire event at risk. Company president Dana White and top executives such as Hunter Campbell were left scrambling to find a new main event.
Tony Ferguson was set to compete against Li Jingliang but was chosen as the new opponent for Diaz in a rearrangement that saw three fights get shuffled.
“It was good. It was surprising because my coach, Mike Brown, just flew into Louisiana the night before. It was his birthday so I ate some pasta so I was a little bit heavier the morning they called and then they offered me the fight and I accepted it.”
According to ‘Diamond,’ the promotion faced difficulty from the Nevada State Athletic Commission in trying to pit him against Diaz and eventually picked Ferguson as the most suitable replacement.
“Then, they had to go through hurdles with the athletic commission to try to make this thing happen, for me to fly over the same day, all this and that,” Poirier said. “Luckily for me, I had some friends and pilots who have the ability to get me to Vegas on very short notice time so I had that setup. Everything was good to go but I think it ultimately came down to the athletic commission.
“Tony had already weighed in and they just wanted to go that way instead. But I did accept and I did speak to the UFC and they were very thankful.”
Poirier Revealed He Had Previously Accepted Similar Offers
Poirier revealed that it was not the first time he stepped up to the task of facing Diaz without much of a warning.
“This isn’t the first time that they have called me to fight Nate on short notice. It’s not the first time I’ve accepted so they told me, ‘we appreciate you always being down,’ and that’s it.”
With Diaz now a free agent, a potential showdown between Poirier and him seems unlikely, at least in the near future.
“Outside of the UFC? He’s a free agent now, I still have a while to go before that’s even a possibility. I still have a few fights, actually a good bit of fights left on my contract. There are certain fights that make sense on a day’s notice at 170 pounds but I don’t need to be fighting at 170 pounds if I can continue to make the weight smoothly.”
Poirier Says His Upcoming Fight Is Huge for His Career
Poirier is set to mark his return to action against Michael Chandler at UFC 281 on Nov. 12. Coming off a loss to the uncrowned champion Charles Oliveira in his last outing, Poirier talked about how important the fight against Chandler is for his career.
“This is a huge fight in my career. First of all, I’ve never lost two fights in a row in my whole career, since an amateur I’ve never lost two fights in a row.
“I want to prove to myself that I learn from mistakes, I get back to the grind, pick myself back up. Not only to myself, I want to prove to my family, my fans, my daughter, that you can fall down and get back up and succeed. So, this fight for me personally, it’s very important to get a victory over a former world champion and add his name to my resume and legacy.”