Back in November, it seemed like the UFC had a thrilling top-ranked lightweight bout all booked and ready to go. Beneil Dariush had just defeated former KSW champion Mateusz Gamrot at UFC 280 back in October and, following Dustin Poirier’s victory over Michael Chandler at UFC 281 on November 12th, the former interim champion sounded gung ho on the idea of a booking between the two men.
“I think it’s a great matchup,” Poirier said of the fight. I think [Beneil Dariush] deserves a top matchup.”
A few days later and everything had changed.
“When we just talked about the other guys that I’ve fought recently, that one’s not super exciting when I think about it,” Poirier admitted, speaking of the idea of a fight with Dariush in a November 16th interview on the MMA Hour.
While there are certainly other fish in the sea, it seems the ‘Diamond’’s change of heart has stuck with the longtime Kings MMA talent. Speaking to Submission Radio, recently, Dariush gave his thoughts on Poirier and the consistent logjam title challengers face in the lightweight division, when searching for a path to UFC gold.
“I wish he’d be a little bit more clear, as to what is it that doesn’t excite him about me?” Dariush admitted. “Are my fights not exciting enough? Or is it a skill issue? Or is it just because I don’t have the name? Because if it’s just because of the name, he should really consider—and I say this as nicely as possible, I’m not trying to be a d-ck—but he should really consider retiring. Because if you’re going to look for the names, if you’re going to look to fight only guys that the name will get you? Bro, there’s dogs coming. There’s dogs, and they’re young and they’re hungry. They’re looking to kill.”
“There’s guys out there already, and there’s not a whole lot of Michael Chandlers left out there in the division. How many more fights like that can you get? You’re going to have to fight one of these dogs. And currently I’m at the forefront of these guys. So either step up or think about doing something else. He seems successful so, if you’re not genuinely—fighting is not a sport you want to be half-hearted about. So if he’s not 100 percent in, he should really reconsider what he’s doing.”
Interestingly, motivation and finding purpose in fighting has been a topic Poirier has seemed to struggle with in recent years. Back in 2021, following his loss to Charles Oliveira, he seemed to question his future as a combat sports athlete.
“I can fight for another belt. I can go on another streak. I can claw and climb and get back to wherever I want to be. It’s just, ‘Do I want to?’” Poirier asked of himself following his third round submission loss at UFC 269. “That’s the question I’ve got to look in the mirror and answer. Do I want to do it again? Do I want to go down that road again? That answer will come in the next couple days or couple weeks.”
Ultimately, Poirier decided not to step away from MMA, revealing that retirement didn’t “feel right” for him at the moment. Skip ahead after his win over Chandler, and what’s Poirier looking for?
“Big fights. Fun fights,” Poirier told Ariel Helwani in the same interview where he brushed off Darisuh. “I don’t know, man. I completed the violence triangle—finished Gaethje, finished Eddie, finished Chandler. There’s a bunch of fights that would be crazy matchups, I just don’t know a name right now.”