Dustin Poirier has no doubt in his mind that he will be competing for a UFC title in 2019.
The top five ranked lightweight hopes to secure his spot as the No. 1 contender with a victory over former champion Eddie Alvarez this weekend in Calgary at UFC on FOX 30.
While nothing is guaranteed even with a win, Poirier believes his body of work speaks for itself and there will be no denying him once he earns the victory against a former title holder.
That being said, Poirier also understands that a win over Alvarez and a guaranteed title shot would likely result in a long layoff due to the current picture that’s painted at 155 pounds.
Lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov is expected to welcome Conor McGregor back to the Octagon later this year with the highly anticipated showdown likely to take place in either October or November. Former interim champion Tony Ferguson is still looming as well but as he recovers from knee surgery there’s been no exact timeline on his return to action.
So when asked who he believes he would face for a lightweight title next year, Poirier had to give some serious thought to the current landscape in the division and who would be left standing if Nurmagomedov faces McGregor next as expected.
“It’s really tough for me to say. It’s so hard for me to pick out of Conor and Khabib,” Poirier said in an exclusive interview ahead of UFC on FOX 30. “I think Khabib beats Tony Ferguson. I’m leaning towards Khabib still but Conor can really punch and he’s a great athlete. We saw Khabib struggle for a few takedowns against Iaquinta, not taking anything from the guy, the guy knows how to wrestle and he trains with great guys and he’s a great fighter himself.
“But if Conor can get him tired and get him leaning for that big shot…but I’d still lean towards Khabib.”
That being said, Poirier has stood in the pocket with McGregor when they were both competing at 145 pounds and he knows just how dangerous the former two-division champion can be with his hands.
While most believe Nurmagomedov’s wrestling would negate McGregor’s power on the feet, Poirier cautions everybody from fans to experts breaking down the fight not to underestimate what the Irishman brings into the Octagon in that potential fight.
“He’s a very dangerous fighter, he adapts to things and he evolves very quickly,” Poirier said about McGregor. “When he first came into the UFC, he may not have been a great wrestler but I guarantee you he can stop some shots now and he can still punch.
“We’ll see. It’s an interesting fight. It really is.”
Who do you believe wins between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor? Sound off in the comments and let us know!