Saturday, August 6, 2022

Dustin Poirier’s battle with UFC rival is nearing completion

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UFC star Dustin Poirier is likely to take on Michael Chandler on his return to action, multiple sources have told Ariel Helwani.

Poirier has been on the touchline since his last game against Charles Oliveira at UFC 269 in December 2021. After a second unsuccessful lightweight title fight, Poirier speculated about a move up to welterweight for his next fight, but had not wanted to confirm it.

His rivalry with Chandler peaked at UFC 276 when the two got into an altercation at the event. Since then, Chandler has indicated that Poirier is next for him, and Tiki Ghosn, Poirier’s manager, agreed with his statement.

During the last episode of The MMA Hour, Helwani broke the news that Poirier’s fight with Chandler is nearing the finals for UFC 281.

“Breaking News! Speaking of New York City, Speaking of Madison Square Garden, Speaking of Mecca, Speaking of the World’s Most Famous Arena, Speaking of the Home of the 2023 NBA Champions, New York Knickerbockers.

“I’m being told right now, multiple sources are telling me that the much-anticipated, much-discussed grudge match between a Dustin Poirier and Michael Chandler is nearing completion for this back card at MSG in November.

“I think it’s November 12, if I remember correctly. And so it’s close and likely for this map destined for this map. It’s not done yet, but it would be UFC 281.”

Poirier posted a tweet Morning of August 3, suggesting the same thing: “Battle news is coming soon!!

Chandler’s feud with Poirier reignited after “Iron” Mike defeated Tony Ferguson at UFC 274. During the Octagon’s post-fight interview, Chandler doubled down on his historic performance with an electrifying promo featuring Conor McGregor, Justin Gaethje and Oliveira.

Poirier was conspicuously absent in action. The 33-year-old Louisiana native criticized his oversight and reached out to Chandler on social media before a near-personal fisticuffs broke out between the two at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

“The fight that was discussed dates back to when Chandler signed with the UFC,” Helwani said. “We saw Chandler vs. Poirier in July, early last month, (during) International Fight Week. They’re in the arena, there’s a bit of exchange.”

“You’ll remember that they both talked about each other on that show,” he added. “There’s a rivalry there, and this is a heated grudge fight. I can barely wait for it. This was the fight to be made.

“So, again, Michael Chandler vs. Dustin Poirier close, probably not completed. Let’s not get crazy, but it’s all moving in that direction and I think that’s very exciting. That’s the fight to make.

Poirier has rallied to book his next gig and was briefly linked with a megafight against fan favorite Nate Diaz. They had previously been paired for UFC 230 in November 2018 but the outing was canceled after “Diamond” was forced to withdraw due to a hip injury.

While both superstars seemed to agree to let the showdown happen that year, the matchup fell through due to a lack of interest from the UFC.

Helwani reviewed the highlights leading up to Poirier taking on Chandler and suggested the UFC would wait and see how their other stars would match before progressing to Poirier.

“Gilbert Burns has it on his phone, and we all needed to see what would happen to Nathan Diaz,” he continued. “After that other shoe fell, so to speak, when we knew Diaz wouldn’t sign anymore and we were going to give him Khamzat Chimaev, Poirier left open.

“When we found out Conor McGregor wasn’t coming back this year, 2023 at the earliest. I mean, that fight just made all the sense in the world. Remember they were in Abu Dhabi when Dustin defeated Conor in the rematch, the second fight.

“There was a lot of tension there. Dustin didn’t like the way Chandler was being used to pressure the whole situation. Also used as a backup without fighting in the UFC coming from Bellator.”

Helwani reviewed the highlights leading up to Poirier taking on Chandler and suggested the UFC would wait and see how their other stars would match before progressing to Poirier.

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