Dustin Poirier is ready for his shot at the title.
Following an epic war that saw Poirier put away Justin Gaethje by fourth round TKO, the UFC and WEC veteran is ready to cash in on a lifetime of hard work by finally being rewarded with a chance to compete for the lightweight championship.
Poirier has gone 7-1 with one no contest since returning to lightweight including wins over Gaethje, former champion Anthony Pettis and top prospect Joseph Duffy. Now he’s hoping that his latest victory will get him the first crack at new lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.
“Because I paid my dues,” Poirier answered when asked to state his case to get the title shot. “I’ve done nothing but put hard work in. Like I said in the cage, I’ve been close to the mountaintop and I’ve been knocked down and I’ve showed resilience and fortitude and I’ve done it over and over again to put myself back in the position I’m in. I’m hitting my stride as a father, a fighter, a husband, a person, I’m just ready to go.
Considering the current state of the lightweight division, it’s entirely possible that Poirier’s wish is granted.
While Nurmagomedov is expected to be out until the fall as he prepares to observe Ramadan starting in mid-May, there’s no word on when former champion Conor McGregor will return to action with potential legal entanglements looming overhead after he was arrested for going berserk in Brooklyn last weekend.
Meanwhile, former interim champion Tony Ferguson just had knee surgery that might keep him sidelined for several months as he’s recovering.
The only other obstacle would be former champion Eddie Alvarez, but he’s previously turned down a rematch with Poirier after their first fight ended in a no contest thanks to a pair of illegal knees that stopped the contest in the second round.
First things first, Poirier has to find out how badly damaged his leg might be after eating a ton of kicks from Gaethje in their fight that left him on crutches after the event was finished. He also suffered a pair of eyepokes that left him a mess both during and after the fight.
Still, Poirier believes once he’s healed up, it’s time for a showdown with Nurmagomedov with the lightweight title going up for grabs.