Dustin Poirier wants to become UFC lightweight champion, but his path to the title looks rather muddy right now, as Conor McGregor has been on the sidelines with no indication on when he might return.
McGregor won the lightweight title last November with a stunning knockout against Eddie Alvarez, but he spent the majority of 2017 engaged in negotiations and then eventually a boxing match against Floyd Mayweather.
Since that time, McGregor has been locked in contract talks with the UFC with no clear sign about when he might return. Meanwhile, interim lightweight champion Tony Ferguson has been clamoring to unify the titles with him so the lightweight division can get moving again after a logjam has been happening at the top of the weight class for more than a year.
Ferguson has stated numerous times that he believes McGregor should either defend his title or vacate the belt. It appears he has at least one more top ranked UFC lightweight on his side.
“The thing is, the UFC’s pretending with Conor, but you have a list of top 10 fighters who aren’t pretending or messing around,” Poirier told MMAWeekly. “This is their lives and their goals and their family’s future, a lot of stuff on the line here.
“So no pretending — let’s strip the belt from the guy or make him fight.”
Of course, McGregor being stripped of the belt creates just as many problems as it solves considering the 29-year old Irishman is currently the biggest draw in combat sports and it’s likely the UFC wants to keep him happy.
That being said, Poirier feels like it’s only justified to take the title away from him considering it’s been well over a year since he won the belt and he still hasn’t defended it.
To make matters worse, McGregor has given no clear indication of when he might actually return, which only serves to frustrate fighters like Poirier even more.
“We have to [strip him] and then other fights make sense,” Poirier explained. “Tony [Ferguson] gets the belt, his belt becomes the real belt and then he fights the winner out of these next few fights we have coming at the beginning of the year. We’ve got to clear it up.”
Poirier has always been an active fighter and he hopes to stay that way in 2018 with his sights set on a UFC championship by the end of the year.
His first goal is getting a rematch with Eddie Alvarez after their first fight ended in controversy. Then Poirier will be ready for whomever the UFC throws at him to earn a title shot.
“I’m going to be the world champion next year,” Poirier declared.
For now, Poirier is just waiting on the UFC to confirm his next opponent, but it’s clear he wants Alvarez’s name on the other end of that contract. After that, Poirier will gladly face any of the other top ranked contenders that will get him that much closer to UFC gold.