MMAWeekly.com’s Damon Martin confirmed the bout and that it was expected to be the headliner in mid-August. Now it is official.
The bout takes top honors over several other marquee fights, including Matt Brown vs. Diego Sanchez, Nate Marquardt vs. Cezar Ferreira, and John Dodson vs. Marlon Moraes.
Pettis (20-6) won the UFC lightweight title in 2013 and defended it once before going on a three-fight skid. He then briefly experimented at featherweight, defeating Charles Oliveira before losing to current champion Max Holloway in what was supposed to have been an interim featherweight championship bout. Holloway won the interim designation, but Pettis was ineligible for it even if he had won due to missing weight.
His struggle with the weight cut was enough to convince Pettis to return to lightweight where he won an impressive unanimous decision over Jim Miller in his first fight back at 155 pounds. He’ll now try to get back in line for the lightweight title by taking on the No. 8 ranked fighter in the division.
Poirier (21-5, 1NC) also fought at featherweight, albeit for a much longer period and with more success than Pettis. He went 8-3 in the Octagon at 145 pounds, but could never get to a title shot. He eventually moved to lightweight in early 2015.
Poirier has fought seven times at 155 pounds under the UFC banner. He has amassed a strong record of 5-1, 1NC in the division. His most recent foray ended in a no contest after former champion Eddie Alvarez landed an illegal knee to Poirier’s head while he was considered a downed opponent. He’ll look to get back on track opposite Pettis in Virginia.