Heading into UFC 257, one of the story lines was the card’s headliners would serve as a title shot tourney. But, following Dustin Poirier’s jaw-dropping win over Conor McGregor, ‘The Diamond’ shot down fighting Michael Chandler next.
Image Credit: UFC / YouTube
Poirier says he can “guarantee” he won’t fight Chandler next
If you saw Saturday’s card, you know that Poirier avenged his 2014 loss to McGregor, by putting away the star in round two. Chandler, meanwhile, quickly stopped Dan Hooker in the co-headliner, in what was the former Bellator’s champ’s UFC debut.
Leading up to UFC 257, there was talk that if the headliners scored big wins, they could face off for the lightweight crown. But, while talking to the press afterward, Poirier had this to say about the possibility of fighting Chandler (quotes via MMA Fighting).
“I can guarantee I won’t be fighting Michael Chandler,” Poirier said. “They can do whatever they want with the division. I don’t really care. If something makes sense, then we’ll do it.”
“I’ve just been putting in work,” he said. “That’s why I’m sitting here feeling like I can talk about it, because I’ve been in the division and the UFC for a long time, fighting the best of the best of the best.
“No disrespect to [Chandler], he seems like a good husband, a good father, he speaks well, has a lot of respect, carries himself very well.
It’s not a knock against him. It’s just my feelings toward the division and the sport.
I lost to Khabib, I came out and put on a ‘Fight of the Year’ for you guys, got my hand raised against a top-five opponent after that.
Then I come in there and Khabib doesn’t want to come back, then I knock out one of the biggest fights you can get. I knock this guy out, too.
“Khabib reiterates he doesn’t want to fight any more – dude, I’m the champ. I’m not going to fight, some – and like I said, respect to Chandler – a new guy to the UFC who just beat a guy that’s coming off a loss that I just beat for the belt. That’s not exciting to me.”
And, while talking about Charles Oliveira, who is coming off a dominant win over Tony Ferguson, Poirier said the following.
“I think he has more [of a case for the title shot],” Poirier said. “I’ve been watching that guy for 10 years in the UFC, two different weight classes.
He’s fought the best of the best, over and over again. And, he’s been knocked down and gotten up, and he’s proven what MMA and perseverance is.
I respect that. Not that I don’t respect Michael Chandler. I just think there’s more work for him to do than beat a guy I just beat.”
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So, it’s not that surprising really that Poirier believes Oliveira has a stronger case for a title shot that Chandler. ‘Do Bronx’ has won eight straight and he’s defeated two of the UFC’s best lightweights in Ferguson and Kevin Lee in his last two bouts.
What is interesting is that Poirier seems pretty dead set against fighting Chandler. So, you have to wonder how this could impact negotiations moving forward.
The UFC has been understandably pushing Chandler, on account of his decorated run with Bellator. Could the promotion look to book Chandler versus Justin Gaethje?