UFC officials are “willing to replace” Dustin Poirier as Conor McGregor’s next opponent, and that stunning move could open the door for recently felled ex-interim champ Justin Gaethje to nab the coveted gig standing across the cage from the sports biggest superstar at his next fight on January 23.
ESPN’s Ariel Helwani reported on Monday that sources informed him that “Poirier remains a hurdle” in making the McGregor vs. Poirier rematch happen, and that “the UFC has said it would be willing to replace Poirier with Gaethje” in the proposed showdown.
According to that same report, the reason for the potential change is that Poirier and the UFC have still not come to terms in regards to financial compensation for “The Diamond”.
That has to be troubling news for Poirier fans because it’s also something that happened when the UFC tried to set up a contest earlier this year between Poirier and Tony Ferguson.
Poirier and UFC officials also couldn’t agree to financial terms for that fight, so the proposed Poirier vs. Ferguson bout never happened.
Now, the world waits to see if the same thing happens with McGregor vs Poirier 2.
If it does, McGregor vs. Gaethje might be on its way instead.
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‘Done Deal’ Not So Done After All
While UFC president Dana White revealed that McGregor vs Poirier 2 was a “done deal” last week, and the rest of the world seemed to go along with that idea, now it seems McGregor’s next UFC fight is actually still in limbo.
That’s not great news for Poirier. McGregor wants to fight, and he has the pull to make that happen no matter what.
But Poirier doesn’t enjoy the same kind of superstar status.
Per Helwani, “Poirier might be in trouble” in regards to landing his megafight rematch against McGregor, especially if McGregor is open to facing Gaethje or any of the other potential options the UFC might have in mind for him.
In fact, Helwani believes it all could come down to how invested McGregor is landing the fight against Poirier. If McGregor demands Poirier, the UFC will probably come up with enough money to satisfy the American.
But if not? McGregor vs. Gaethje could be the company’s next target.
So McGregor was thought to be on the way facing Poirier next in a rematch on January 23.
But now it all could fall apart over money.
McGregor vs. Gaethje?
Gaethje is the only fighter named by Helwani per his UFC sources but he’s not the only candidate. Other potential options include Ferguson and recently signed ex-Bellator champ Michael Chandler.
Regardless, Gaethje would probably be the best option if the McGregor vs. Poirier rematch falls through.
After all, Gaethje remains the No. 1 contender in the UFC’s 155-pound lightweight division even after losing via second-round submission to Khabib Nurmagomedov UFC 254.
Moreover, Gaethje’s strike-heavy style would produce real fireworks with the equally adept McGregor.
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