Dustin Poirier “most deserving of a title shot,” says Khabib Nurmagomedov coach

Dustin Poirier
Image via @dustinpoirier on Instagram (photographer not listed)

Coach Javier Mendez believes that if his star pupil, UFC lightweight champ Khabib Nurmagomedov, retires, Dustin Poirier should fight for the vacant belt.

Nurmagomedov announced his retirement after a submission victory over Justin Gaethje in October. That being said, he still hasn’t vacated the lightweight title, due primarily to the fact that UFC President Dana White hopes he’ll fight again.

If Nurmagomedov does retire, however, his long-time handler believes Dustin Poirier should be involved in the next lightweight title fight.

“Let’s face it, if in fact he’s not coming back, and we know that for a fact – and I don’t know that – but if in fact he’s not, then the rightful person that should be fighting for the title is Dustin against anybody,” Mendez said on The Schmozone podcast this week (via MMA Fighting). “So to me, they got one of the right persons in there. Conor [McGregor] would be the second right one, or it could be Justin Gaethje or it could be Michael Chandler. It doesn’t matter. Or (Charles) Oliveira. What matters is that Dustin is in the title hunt because he’s the one that, in my opinion, is most deserving of a title shot.”

Poirier is slated to fight Conor McGregor on January 23, but there will be no title on the line in the fight.

As for whether Nurmagomedov will end up vacating his belt, Mendez isn’t sure, but notes that it will take very special circumstances to convince the champ to fight again.

“I don’t know, because we never talked about it, but I can only tell you this,” Mendez said. “His father, his vision was for Khabib to fight GSP and retire at 30-0. So if Dana anything to do with anything, it isn’t a boatload of money because I don’t believe that’s gonna be the case. It would be something to the effect of something that very much interests him. So maybe a GSP fight. I don’t know, I’m guessing.

“But in order for that to happen, he’d have to go to the No. 1 person that he promised he would retire (to), and that would be his mother, not me,” Mendez added. “I’m on board for whatever he wants to do. So he’d have to clear it with his mother if he wants to do anything.”

“I can only go by what’s in the media and what he’s been saying. When have we known him to not do what he’s said? I don’t know, I can’t recall a time he’s said something and didn’t mean it.”

What do you think the future holds for Khabib Nurmagomedov? Should Dustin Poirier get a title shot if the champ retires?

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