At UFC 236, streaking UFC lightweight contender Dustin Poirier will battle reigning UFC featherweight champ Max Holloway for the interim lightweight strap.
Like many fans, Poirier believes Tony Ferguson deserved to be a part of any title fight in the lightweight division, but he isn’t sure why Ferguson turned the opportunity down.
“I’m not sure (how this happened),” Poirier told MMAjunkie about this surprising fight with Holloway. “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.
“Originally they wanted Max and Tony, and then they called me,” Dustin Poirier added. “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.”
Whatever the case, Dustin Poirier is understandably incredibly happy that this opportunity landed in his lap.
“This means everything to me,” Poirier said. “When I get that belt wrapped around my waist, it solidifies – well in this day and age (you never know) – it should solidify that I’m going to unify the belt with Khabib in the next fight. It says I’m the best in the world, but I still have a lot more work to do after that. It’s not done yet. It helps me move forward in my career where I want to go.
“I know a lot of people are going to (expletive) on it because that’s the way people are. People suck. They’re going to say, ‘You’re not the champion.’ But let me tell you what: After 40 fights, after 12 years of struggling and climbing back from adversity, after all the sacrifices I’ve made with my family, that my wife has made because of the ups, the downs. When they wrap that around my waist, I promise you not a person’s opinion in the world is going to matter. I’m going to be the world the champion.”
What do you think of the recently announced Max Holloway vs. Dustin Poirier interim lightweight title fight?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 2/24/2019.