After a jaw-dropping performance at UFC 257 in January, Dustin Poirier was catapulted in front of the line to fight for the then-vacant 155-pound title. Instead, “The Diamond” chose to take on a third fight against ex-double champ Conor McGregor.
You can argue that Poirier went for this option to finally put his rivalry with “The Notorious” to rest. A rubber match with an even score, after all, is the best way to do that. But you can also argue the potential massive payday that a trilogy fight against the company’s biggest entity brings to the table.
In a recent interview with ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, Poirier gave a candid answer.
The money is more important. I have mouths to feed. Good thing closing that door with Conor does both those things. But this is providing… I’m a provider. And I owe it to my family.
I made that decision pretty easily. If I’m the best in the world, then I’m gonna beat Conor and fight for the belt. It’s like doubling down on yourself. I’m a gambling man, and I believe in my skills in fighting. So I just doubled down. That’s all it was.
To put things into perspective, Poirier gave a rough comparison between what he plausibly earns from a UFC title fight and a third fight with one of the most prominent names in sports today.
I don’t how much you want to get into the actual contractual stuff with this, but me fighting for the belt, I wouldn’t have gotten pay-per-view (points). I would’ve gotten a base salary of probably not even a third of my base salary for this fight. It just doesn’t make sense.
I’m a prizefighter. I don’t want to put the UFC on blast or the numbers and the way we do deals and make it a big thing like that… If I’m gonna make five, six, seven, ten times the amount of money to fight Conor again… like I said, I’m a father and a husband and I have priorities.
A win for Poirier does huge things, both for his brand and his fighting career. And it’s something he’s fully aware of.
(This fight is) me trying to show that January wasn’t a fluke. Him trying to show that he’s still relevant, that he still wants to be a world champion at 155 pounds. Because I was pushing a fight at a heavier weight. I wanted to fight at 170, I don’t want to cut down to ’55 again.
But he wants to do it at ’55, the UFC wants it at ’55, so I know what that means. That means the winner of this fight is fighting for the belt.
UFC 257 unraveled a toned-down version of McGregor, one that was more cordial and much less brazen. Poirier expects “Crazy Conor” to show up again but to a certain extent.
How crazy can you be? You got knocked out last time. We put you on Airplane Mode in front of the world in Abu Dhabi. What can you say?
UFC 264 takes place this weekend at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Scheduled to co-headline the card is a likely title eliminator between welterweights Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson and Gilbert Burns.