Dustin Poirier believes his UFC 257 fight with Conor McGregor will be for the lightweight title

Former interim UFC lightweight champion Dustin Poirier
Former interim UFC lightweight champion Dustin Poirier

Dustin Poirier thinks that his fight with Conor McGregor in UFC 257 should be for the UFC lightweight title. The division is one of the most exciting at the moment, with multiple outcomes that could unfold next.

Besides Poirier and McGregor, the return of the current champion Khabib Nurmagomedov is a possibility that the UFC president Dana White is reluctant to give up on. Charles Oliveira is another contender who has walked into the title discussion after a dominant win over Tony Ferguson.

Talking to BT Sport's Adam Catterall, Dustin Poirier discussed the possibility of his next fight being for the UFC lightweight belt, which is the approach he believes the UFC should take.

"I don't really know, man. I can't look at the whole thing. I don't know what's going to happen. I feel like Khabib is a guy of his word. If he says [that] he's retired, he is most likely [staying] retired," Dustin Poirier said. "You know, number two is Gaethje. I got a win over him. I feel like me and Connor [bout] could potentially be for the belt. He is a former champion."

Both fighters have held the UFC lightweight belt before. McGregor captured it from Jose Aldo in just 12 seconds in one of the best UFC title fights ever. Poirier won the interim belt against Max Holloway via unanimous decision in a five-round battle.

"I'm a former interim champion looking to get some gold back on my waist. Conor is a former undisputed world champion in the lightweight division. Both of our last defeats were to the current 'retired' champion," Dustin Poirier analyzed. "Yeah, so I don't know. You know that there is a storyline, you can draw with a lot of these fights, and I just try not to play too much into it because at the end of the day, January 23, I'm fighting 25 minutes with one of the best guys in the world and I just focus on that. Everything else is just noise."

Even if the UFC lightweight bout between Dustin Poirier and McGregor is not for the division's belt, the fight will still be one of the most anticipated duels in the UFC next year.

The rematch promises to be much more challenging for both fighters than the first time they met when McGregor sent Dustin Poirier to the canvas in under two minutes of battle.

The pressure and expectations falling over the two contenders are palpable. But Dustin Poirier is focused on what he can do and prefers to leave criticisms and opinions outside the Octagon.

"I have no control of those stuff, but what I do have control of is the work I put in, the work I am going to put in after. My preparation and my readiness: that is what I am focused on. Everything else... what is going to happen is going to happen [and] I can't control it."

Dustin Poirier and the UFC lightweight championship's future

The UFC lightweight division is probably the one with the most uncertain future among the nine weight classes in the promotion. Khabib Nurmagomedov's retirement left the division with a lot of hungry contenders for the vacant title.

While Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor are the two most notable contenders at the moment, Charles Oliveira creeps in after a dominant performance against Tony Ferguson. The chances of the latter have heavily diminished with the loss.

Justin Gaethje is still the number two contender in the UFC lightweight division even after he was defeated by Nurmagomedov earlier this year. It was after the fight with Gaethje that the unbeaten champion announced that he would step out of the Octagon permanently.

Although UFC president Dana White is confident that he can bring Nurmagomedov back from retirement to achieve his 30th win in his MMA career, "The Eagle" does not seem so motivated to return.

Who do you think should be the next UFC lightweight champion? Sound off in the comments.

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Edited by Alex Turk