When Dustin Poirier defeated Max Holloway to win the interim lightweight title at UFC 236, he earned himself the opportunity to unify his new title with the undisputed lightweight belt owned by the undefeated Khabib Nurmagomedov.
The longstanding rumor has been that this lightweight title fight will occur at UFC 242 in Abu Dhabi on September 7. That being said, the bout is not yet official.
Speaking on MMA Junkie Radio recently, Dustin Poirier confirmed that UFC 242 is most definitely the tentative plan, but admitted he’s not sure what the holdup is when it comes to making this bout official.
“Everything is pointing to it happening in Abu Dhabi, September 7, me and Khabib,” Poirier said. “I’m not sure what the holdup is or what’s going on. I have no clue.”
Venturing into a Muslim region to fight the UFC’s biggest Muslim star is not going to be an easy task for Dustin Poirier. He understands that he will playing the role of the visiting team, but has no objections to that. As the challenger, he does not expect to the call the shots in terms of the locations of his fights.
“That’s a big challenge to go over there,” he said. “[He’s] probably one of the biggest Muslim stars — sports stars for sure, I mean I don’t know any other ones right off the bat. To go out there in enemy territory and fight their guy is going to be a huge challenge. That’s what you sign up for. He’s the champ and I can’t say anything about it.
“When I beat him and I defend it I can try to nudge the UFC and say hey let’s do it here or do it there, but I’m the challenger and I understand that role. I’ve got a long climb to go over there and pull off the upset.”
Do you think Dustin Poirier and Khabib Nurmagomedov will fight at UFC 242?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 5/21/2019.