Dustin Poirier went from calling for his UFC release to less than two months out from an interim title fight in a matter of days.
Poirier is set to meet featherweight champion Max Holloway in a rematch at UFC 236 on April 13. With 155-pound champ Khabib Nurmagomedov sidelined until the end of the year, the bout is for the division’s interim belt.
Before the Holloway fight was finalized, Poirier expressed his frustration with the UFC due to the fact that he wasn’t getting any offers. Ever since a July win over former champ Eddie Alvarez, Poirier has been calling for big fights against either Nurmagomedov, Tony Ferguson, or Conor McGregor.
Last week, Poirier went as far as to ask for his release from the promotion, but just days later the Holloway rematch was announced for the April 13 pay-per-view card.
“I’m not sure (how this happened),” Poirier told MMAjunkie. “I don’t know. I don’t make the decisions. I don’t even know what happened. Honestly, these last few months I’ve been kept in the dark, really. I’ve been here seven weeks now in South Florida at my spot training. Not in a training camp preparing for anything, but just learning and staying on the mats. I just felt like something big was coming, and I decided to stay here. Good thing I did because I got the call for this one.”
After the Holloway vs. Poirier announcement, UFC president Dana White said Ferguson turned down an interim title fight against “Blessed” — the promotion’s first choice ahead of Holloway vs. Poirier. It is fair to say “The Diamond” jumped at the opportunity after Ferguson said no.
“Originally they wanted Max and Tony, and then they called me,” Poirier said. “They didn’t really have a whole lot of plans, then at the last minute they tried to put together Max vs. Tony. Then they called and said, ‘If for some reason Max falls out or doesn’t take it, you’re going to fight Tony for the interim. If for some reason Tony doesn’t make it, then you’re going to fight Max for the interim.’ Tony apparently didn’t think it was the right fight at the right time, or he had something going on. I don’t know his exact story.
“I’m trying to figure out why he couldn’t make the date, but honestly I don’t care. I hope everything is good for him and his family and hope he’s healthy, but this is my opportunity.”
Also on the UFC 236 pay-per-view is an interim middleweight title bout between Kelvin Gsatelum and Israel Adesanya.