'The Diamond' Dustin Poirier has been itching to return to the Octagon since his submission loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 242 a month ago. However, Poirier is waiting for a noteworthy opponent to step inside the Octagon with, and a rematch with Conor McGregor most definitely fits the bill.
Poirier wants the money fight with McGregor
When the pair met for the first time at UFC 178 in a featherweight bout back in 2014, 'The Notorious One' beat Poirier inside the first two minutes of the opening round. It is no secret that The Diamond wants to fight the Irishman again, and Poirier has affirmed the same quite a few times. After Poirier's loss to Khabib, he and Conor have engaged in numerous verbal spats on social media.
In an interview with MMA Junkie, Poirier said that he would love to have another crack at his old foe McGregor and that he believes that the rematch makes a lot of sense.
“I think it could happen; I don’t know how likely it is. I’m still at the top of the division. He’s ranked under me. If he wants to get back to the title, there’s only one way to do that is to fight. I’m the next guy in line, so I think it makes a lot of sense. My star has never been brighter, and people want to see Conor back, and I think it would be a huge fight, and it would be a huge pay-per-view.
I just want a fight that’s going to make me excited. I’ve been doing this a long time and not that I’m not motivated, I just want to be excited about it.”
Poirier thinks that over time, he has transformed into a mature fighter compared to his earlier self, and while the loss to Nurmagomedov was difficult for him to digest, it has helped him grow.
“I think I’ve learned a lot of lessons since then. I’ve got a lot better. It’ll be six years or so since we fought. I’ve tightened up a lot of things, got a lot smoother, I’m more defensively responsible now. After the Michael Johnson loss, I went back and really started to work on my defense, my range, my timing, and my understanding of distance. I think that really shows in the fights I’ve had since then. It’s the same thing with this Khabib fight. I wasn’t defensively responsible on the ground."
During the interview, Poirier recollected and analysed the mistakes he made in his fight against the undefeated Dagestani.
“I’ve spent thousands of hours on the ground and had people try to choke my neck, and in the fight with Khabib I was more worried about trying to wear this guy down than I was about the danger of the potential of the chokes and the submissions. The alarm wasn’t going off like, ‘Emergency!’ I wasn’t defensively responsible. Not that I didn’t think I could get submitted, but I don’t get submitted very often honestly, and I think I can make these guys work and get up. But he’s a different animal, and I need to tighten up. Lesson learned.”
Although Poirier ideally wants the money fight versus McGregor instantly if he receives an offer from the UFC, he also does not mind waiting till next year as he’s been dealing with a hip problem for a few years now, and plans to have it treated soon unless he fights again this year.
“They haven’t offered me anything yet, but I would fight again this year if it makes sense. But if not, maybe the first quarter of next year. I’m going up to Colorado in a week to get my hips checked out by a hip specialist and just to get a second opinion. My hip has been bothering me the last couple years. If I can do a scope or something like that, it’s going to take me out for six weeks, and it makes me feel amazing in my next camp, I’m going to take that and do that. But we’ll see.”