When Khamzat Chimaev’s 7.5-pound weight miss threw the September 10 pay-per-view card up in the air, one “Diamond” emerged through the chaos as a possible savior.
Despite being two months away from his planned next outing, Poirier had been training hard in the gym and was just over six pounds away from the welterweight limit, as he revealed on Twitter following news of Chimaev’s sizable indiscretion on the scale.
Despite Poirier appearing more than willing to step in to face the Stockton native on 24 hours’ notice, planned co-headliner Tony Ferguson ultimately moved into the open main event slot.
But while he ended up not needing to make the trip from Louisiana to Las Vegas, Poirier has noted that everything was set for him to do so.
Poirier: “Everything Was Good To Go”
During a recent interview with Heavy Sports, #2-ranked lightweight contender Poirier revealed just how close he came to making the walk inside the T-Mobile Arena for the UFC 279 headliner.
While many quickly predicted that “El Cucuy” would be plucked from his date in the cage with Li Jingliang to face Diaz, who was competing in his final contracted UFC fight, Poirier believes that were it not for the athletic commission’s doubts, he could well have been lacing the gloves on September 10.
“It (phone call with UFC) was good. It was surprising,” Poirier said. “My coach Mike Brown just flew into Louisiana the night before, and it was his birthday. So, I ate some pasta, so I was a little bit heavy the morning they called. Then they offered me the fight and I accepted it. They had to go through hurdles with the athletic commission to try to make this thing happen, for me to fly over same day.
“Luckily for me, I have some friends who have the ability to — and pilots — get me to Vegas on very short-notice time, so I had that set up. Everything was good to go. But I think it ultimately came down to the athletic commission,” Poirier continued. “Tony had already weighed in and they wanted to go that way instead. But I did accept, and I did speak to the UFC, and they were very thankful.”
Should Poirier have had the call-up confirmed, the matchup certainly wouldn’t have been without a backstory.
As well as the pair’s failed 2018 bout and the aftermath of that, “The Diamond” and Diaz both appeared keen to square off against each other earlier this year, with Poirier even naming the Stockton native as the only possible opponent that motivated him following his championship loss to Charles Oliveira.
Nevertheless, with the promotion going in a different direction at UFC 279, and Diaz going in a different direction from the promotion post-UFC 279, it appears that the ship has sailed on that pairing.
With that, Poirier will be directing his attention towards a confirmed clash with Michael Chandler. The pair’s feud has intensified in recent months, culminating with a face-to-face altercation at July’s UFC 276 event.
They’ll now look to settle their animosity when they collide at Madison Square Garden on November 12’s UFC 281 card.
Would you have preferred to see Dustin Poirier face Nate Diaz instead of Tony Ferguson?