Whatever the UFC does next with the lightweight title picture, it seems likely that Dustin Poirier will be at the center of it. The ‘Diamond’ is fresh off a massive PPV performance that saw him KO combat sports superstar Conor McGregor midway through the second round of their UFC 257 headlining bout. That victory puts the Lafayette native on a two fight winning streak, since dropping his interim lightweight title in a unification bout against Khabib Nurmagomedov back in September of 2019.
In Poirier’s eyes, and following Nurmagomedov’s apparent retirement, his latest victory now makes the ATT fighter the UFC’s new uncrowned lightweight king.
“Uncrowned world champion,” Poirier posted on his Twitter account shortly after his stopping McGregor.
In the post fight press conference, he tossed around a few names as to who he might like to face next. Nate Diaz was mentioned, Charles Oliveira got a less than enthusiastic nod, and Michael Chandler was entirely dismissed. But, Poirier did give some credence to the idea of giving McGregor an instant rematch. Whatever fight he’s booked for, however, ATT head coach Mike Brown made it clear that getting the official UFC belt around his waist is the top priority.
“I think all depends on what Dustin wants,” Brown told MMA Fighting when asked about facing McGregor again. “Obviously it was big. It was the second biggest pay-per-view of all time. That’s certainly a reason. They are split 1-1, so it does make sense in some ways.
“But really what Dustin is fighting for is to be the world champion. I think he wants to take time, relax, enjoy his family and not think about anything right now and just enjoy it. But I know really what he wants more than anything else is to have that undisputed world champion title to his name.”
As for Poirier’s comments that he’s already the ‘uncrowned champ’, Brown lent some credence to that position—noting that with a recent resume that includes wins over Justin Gaethje, Anthony Pettis, Eddie Alvarez, and Max Holloway – as well as Conor McGregor – nobody’s got a clearer claim to the title of best lightweight in the world right now than he does.
“It was tough because that really, with Khabib retired, that should have been a title fight,” Brown said. “I feel like we’re in a similar situation with Yves Edwards years ago. He was the uncrowned champion when they kind of got rid of the title and the division was in limbo and he fought Josh Thomson. That legitimately should have been for the vacant lightweight title, and he won that fight and looked great. He doesn’t officially have that to his title, UFC champion.
“But I think a lot of people feel that way with Dustin. I think a high percentage of the experts and the other athletes, he’s the guy. He was the No. 1 guy going into that, he was the No. 1 contender. Conor was the former two-division champion, definitely a fighter worthy of that fight. Biggest draw in the sport ever. That really should have been a title fight.”
Hopefully the UFC will announce their plans for the lightweight belt sometime in the coming weeks, and lend a little extra clarity for the elite talent at 155 looking for their chance to grab a the most coveted piece of hardware in mixed martial arts. Until then, Poirier will have to be content with his self-proclaimed title.