UFC lightweight contender Dustin Poirier has earned a title shot. At this point, that’s pretty much undeniable. With UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov booked for a headline-dominating UFC 229 title fight with Conor McGregor, however, Poirier was left with two choices: wait for a shot at the winner, or take another fight in the meantime.
Dustin Poirier chose option B, and accepted a UFC 230 fight with Nate Diaz. If he wins this fight, of course, it will only reaffirm that he deserves a fight with the Nurmagomedov-McGregor winner. Yet there is a real possibility that Poirier loses this fight, which would effectively disintegrate his claim to the next title shot.
Poirier understands this risk, but considers the Diaz fight a gamble worth taking.
“You know, I do [consider it a worthwhile gamble],” Dustin Poirier told Nick Dwyer of Everlast.com “Every fight is a gamble; you never know what’s going to happen. But I’m not the kind of guy to sit around and wait, you know? Even if I would have done that, there’s no telling when the winner of Conor-Khabib would be ready to defend the belt again. And even if they did make a quick turnaround, if Tony Ferguson beats Anthony Pettis, he was the interim champ so I believe he’s probably ahead of me. I’m not just going to sit around and wait a year for a title shot.”
“I enjoy fighting and I enjoy training,” he added. “I still enjoy it, so I don’t want to sit around for a year. I like to be in training camp, pushing myself, learning, getting better and this kind of fight right here is a fight that made a lot of sense to me. It’s a fun fight, a guy that I’ve been watching for a long time, a guy that I’m a fan of- him and his brother [Nick Diaz]- and it’s a legacy fight for me.”
Do you think Dustin Poirier will defeat Nate Diaz at UFC 230?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 9/14/2018.