Poirier believes he’s next for McGregor in UFC

UFC lightweight contender Dustin Poirier said he believes his next opponent will be Conor McGregor, who has been offered the fight but has not yet accepted.

Poirier said he has returned to training at American Top Team in Coconut Creek, Florida, after seeing McGregor bring coaches into his gym in Ireland.

“I think the Conor fight comes together, I really do,” Poirier told ESPN’s Ariel Helwani for a podcast that aired Wednesday. “I believe I would have a contract right now if Conor said he would fight in 2021. He wants to fight in 2020.”

Helwani reported Thursday that UFC offered McGregor a fight against Poirier on the Jan. 23 pay-per-view event — UFC 257 — but McGregor wants either the Nov. 21 or Dec. 12 pay-per-view card. Poirier is good with either date.

“I haven’t formally been offered anything,” Poirier said. “I think the Conor side of the deal might be the tougher part to get done, and once that’s done, they might come to me. I don’t know.

“They know I want to fight. They know I want to fight this year, whether it’s Conor, whether it’s Tony [Ferguson].”

There were discussions about Poirier fighting Ferguson as the co-main event of UFC 254 on Oct. 24 on “Fight Island” in Abu Dhabi, but Poirier and UFC couldn’t come to terms. Poirier said the sides weren’t far apart and he has “no clue” why the deal wasn’t done. UFC president Dana White said Poirier didn’t want the fight, for whatever reason.

“Dana knows I texted him days before he said that and I said I want this matchup, I want this fight,” Poirier said. “I’m not sure why he said that. I thought we would end up making a deal and I would go to Abu Dhabi to fight.”

Poirier said that after the Ferguson talks fell through, UFC offered Ferguson a chance to fight former Bellator champion and new signing Michael Chandler but Ferguson turned it down. Poirier said UFC then offered him a fight with Chandler, but Poirier — an elite 10-year UFC veteran — didn’t want to take less money than someone who just joined the promotion.

“I would never count another man’s money, I hope Chandler makes a ton of money in the UFC, but the fact I’ve been in the UFC for 10 years … and the guy’s going to come in here and make more money than me, I understand it’s business, but if you want me to fight that guy, you have to step it up,” Poirier said. “That’s a slap in the face. I’ve shed too much blood in the Octagon.”

Poirier said he would be willing to fight McGregor at the 170-pound welterweight limit instead of his customary lightweight limit of 155 pounds, and that also goes for Ferguson and Nate Diaz, who tweeted at Poirier on Wednesday.

Diaz took exception to McGregor’s original idea that he and Poirier conduct a sparring exhibition. UFC followed that idea by pursuing an actual fight, which would be a rematch of their September 2014 bout that McGregor won with a first-round knockout.

Poirier had been training at ATT for Ferguson, and once that fell through, he headed home to Louisiana. But he has returned to continue training.

“Because the Conor talks, not within the UFC but online, were starting to heat up and things were starting to look like … I saw Conor bringing in his coaches and starting to train, and also Tony’s out there, he wants to fight,” Poirier said. “Something is coming. I know. I have a pretty good intuition. I haven’t been wrong about things like that in the past.

“I think Conor wants to fight, and here’s an opportunity to fight a guy who’s No. 2 in the division. If his goal is to be the world champion, this fight makes a lot of sense.”

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