Before pursuing the top step of the lightweight ladder, Poirier re-visited his rivalry with McGregor in the first half of 2021. In a largely respectful affair, the pair ran it back at UFC 257 in January. “The Diamond” evened the score by becoming the first man to knock the Irishman out.
Despite seemingly earning his place in the vacant title fight that went down at UFC 262, Poirier instead decided to pursue a money trilogy fight with McGregor. This time, tension was high and trash talk was personal. Despite the former two-division UFC champ looking to reignite the McGregor of old, it was Poirier who took a 2-1 lead in their feud after “The Notorious” star suffered a gruesome broken leg.
With two victories over MMA’s biggest name this year, Poirier has turned his attention back to the ultimate prize. He’ll challenge Oliveira, who was crowned after defeating Michael Chandler in May, in the main event of UFC 269 on December 11.
Despite Poirier now setting his sights on the title, many, including UFC President Dana White, have suggested a fourth fight with McGregor is inevitable. The 33-year-old is set to return deep into 2022, and recently claimed he’ll be fighting whoever is holding the strap when he makes his comeback.
While talk of a tetralogy with his arch-rival is still heavily present, especially with the Irishman’s constant social media attacks, Poirier isn’t paying any attention to it. In an interview with MMA Junkie, “The Diamond” said he has no focus on McGregor as of now, and encouraged him to keep talking “shit.”
“As far as right now, for sure (McGregor feud is in the past)… I’m not even thinking about that. But he says a lot of shit, you know. Keep talking.”
Poirier Isn’t Looking Past Oliveira
It’s clear that while Poirier is paying no notice to a potential fourth clash with McGregor, he certainly is for his upcoming championship battle with Oliveira.
“Do Bronx” is widely seen as the underdog and, in the eyes of many, is being underestimated heading into his first title defense. That’s despite the fact he boasts a 26-fight UFC record and the most finishes, most submission wins, most Performance of the Night awards, and highest finishes-per-win percentage in the promotion’s history.
Unlike some, Poirier isn’t taking the Brazilian lightly. The former interim champ acknowledges the danger and threat Oliveira poses, and insists he won’t get caught up in a complacent mindset.
“I don’t like that (people underestimating Oliveira). I don’t wanna get caught up in that mindset. A fight is a fight. This guy is very dangerous. He has so many finishes in the UFC, so much experience, and I’m not putting that aside. This is a huge fight for him, for his legacy; for me, for my legacy. All the experience throughout our whole career has built up to this fight. That guy’s very dangerous and very capable. I respect his journey to get where he’s at, to be the undisputed champ, because I have a similar one.”
Who do you think will leave UFC 269 as lightweight champion, Dustin Poirier or Charles Oliveira?