Poirier (27-6 MMA, 19-5 UFC) redeemed one of the most noteworthy losses of his career in his rematch with McGregor (22-5 MMA, 10-3 UFC) earlier this month. He scored a second-round TKO of the former two-division champion on “Fight Island” in Abu Dhabi, and now the future appears to be very bright for him.
In the aftermath of the fight, Poirier has been the center of attention in the lightweight division. McGregor’s team has expressed interest in a rematch, Nate Diaz said he wants to reschedule their scratched matchup from UFC 230 in November 2018. Michael Chandler has pitched the idea of a vacant lightweight title bout, as has Charles Oliveira. And Tony Ferguson also wants a piece of “The Diamond.”
Poirier said he enjoys everyone is coming for him, and he’s well aware that he’s currently the man at 155 pounds.
“I’ve got a target on my back,” Poirier told MMA Junkie on Sunday. “(I’m a former) interim world champion, I just knocked out Conor McGregor, and now I’m No. 1 and the only person above me, (Khabib Nurmagomedov), might never fight again. People want to climb that ladder, and in order to do that, you’ve got to beat the guys at the top. You’ve got to beat the next guys in line, so I understand why the target is on my back, and I wear it proudly.
“I am the uncrowned lightweight champ. If Khabib’s out, I am the best in the division. Former interim world champion, former title challenger. I just took out a two-division former world champion. I am the champ. I know that.”
The only thing that differentiates Poirier’s word from the reality of the situation is that he doesn’t have ownership of the UFC lightweight title. That still belongs to Nurmagomedov, who seemingly has closed the door on making a return to the octagon after retiring from MMA following his title defense against Justin Gaethje at UFC 254 in October.
UFC president Dana White said post-fight at UFC 257 he likes the idea of a vacant title bout between Poirier and Chandler, a former Bellator champion who made a memorable debut the same night against Dan Hooker before Poirier stopped McGregor. Poirier immediately shot that down after the fight, citing his opinion Chandler hasn’t done enough under the UFC banner to warrant the opportunity.
Poirier thinks Oliveira, who is riding an eight-fight winning streak in the division, is a different story, though. But if the UFC doesn’t want to move forward with more sensible options, Poirier said he’ll pull himself out of the equation.
“I want to be the world champion, and Charles is a guy that’s paid his dues,” Poirier said. “He’s earned where he’s at, no doubt about it. Let him and Chandler fight for the belt. If they want Chandler in there for the title, and he’s calling for the title. Let them fight for the belt. I’ll take a step back and just watch.”
The possibility of a trilogy fight with McGregor is something Poirier doesn’t rule out either, he said. The perks of that fight are obvious, from exposure to financial gain. Despite his team coming out in favor of a third matchup, McGregor hasn’t said anything beyond his immediate post-fight comments, when he said it was something of interest.
What Poirier does know, however, is that he hasn’t been contacted directly about anything. And until then, nothing is real.
“It’s tough to call,” Poirier said. “I don’t know what they’re saying behind closed doors. And I haven’t been reached out yet by the UFC or by Conor’s management about the trilogy fight. So I’m not sure what’s going to happen. I haven’t been reached out to the UFC about anything.”
So until the UFC brings Poirier a matchup he deems worth his time and energy, he’s not jumping to push for anything definitive. All that’s on his mind now is the immediate plan of taking his wife, Jolie, and daughter, Parker, on vacation.
“The future is bright, for sure,” Poirier said. “I haven’t even really thought about it that far. Might go on a snow trip with my wife and my daughter in a couple of weeks. That’s what next.”