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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 9 March 2021

Dustin Poirier says he is 'most deserving' of a title shot, but doesn't know if Conor McGregor rematch will happen

American dismisses prospect of facing newcomer Chandler

Dustin Poirier has reiterated his immediate desire to become the undisputed UFC lightweight champion, although he doesn’t know if that means a trilogy bout with Conor McGregor would be next up.

The American, a former interim champion, defeated McGregor in spectacular fashion at UFC 257 in Abu Dhabi late last month, knocking out his opponent in the second round. The clash, a rematch of their 2014 encounter, in which McGregor won by first-round TKO, brought to a close a third Fight Island series in the capital.

The victory moved Poirier into pole position for the belt, which seems set to be vacated by Khabib Nurmagomedov. The undefeated champion, 29-0, is expected to commit to his decision in October to retire.

"Who else has put the resume together that I have in my last six, seven fights, whatever it has been?" Poitier (27-6) told ESPN. "Also beating Conor, a two-weight world champion, adds another world champion to the list of guys I've taken out.

“I think I'm most deserving to be in a title fight out of all these guys."

McGregor, meanwhile, is said to be targeting the chance to avenge his defeat to Poirier, although there is yet to be any concrete news on that particular bout being made.

Speaking in another interview, this time to MMA Junkie, Poirier said: “I don’t know what they’re saying behind closed doors. I haven’t been reached out to 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.”

Poirier, 32, believes the lightweight title should have been on the line in Abu Dhabi, when UFC president Dana White publicly pursued Nurmagomedov in an attempt to convince him to return for one more fight.

On whether the promotion would make Poirier-McGregor 3 for the vacant belt, Poirier said: "I'm not sure if the UFC would do that. Why wasn't that one for the belt? Politics? We're chasing Khabib? What's going on here? I have no idea what direction [the UFC will] move in."

Poirier, though, has maintained that he isn’t interested at the moment in a match-up against Michael Chandler. His fellow American, 34, shone on UFC debut in the penultimate bout at UFC 257, knocking out sixth-ranked contender Dan Hooker in the first round. Poirier, who defeated Hooker on points last June, later said he didn’t feel Chandler deserved a shot at the belt this early in his UFC career.

However, the three-time Bellator lightweight champion has contested that theory, telling ESPN: "Don't use the word 'hasn't earned it' around me. Now I just came into your organisation, knocked out a guy in 2-and-a-half minutes that you couldn't finish in 25 minutes.

“I cemented myself as a top guy … I'm not going to use the word 'disrespectful,' even though I just did, but it kind of is. But it doesn't really matter. At this point I've cemented myself inside the top five."

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - JANUARY 23: Michael Chandler reacts after his knockout victory over Dan Hooker of New Zealand in a lightweight fight during the UFC 257 event inside Etihad Arena on UFC Fight Island on January 23, 2021 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)
ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - JANUARY 23: Michael Chandler reacts after his knockout victory over Dan Hooker of New Zealand in a lightweight fight during the UFC 257 event inside Etihad Arena on UFC Fight Island on January 23, 2021 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Published: February 2, 2021 12:25 PM

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