Of course, McGregor’s pitch on a rematch with Poirier was for it to be a charity “exhibition” free of UFC involvement. However, UFC president Dana White said last week that he got involved by offering the fight to both McGregor and Poirier.
Poirier is all in, not surprisingly. As for McGregor, he’s apparently gone mum on the situation – perhaps also not surprisingly.
“I don’t really know, honestly, what’s going on with the whole situation,” Poirier said on this week’s “UFC Unfiltered” podcast. “Of course I would take the fight. I would fight him. I would fight Tony (Ferguson). I just want big fights, and I think that’s what’s coming. I would like to fight again this year. We’ll see. I haven’t heard back from the negotiation side of the UFC or Conor, but it’s a new week, and I’m hoping to hear something.”
Only McGregor knows his true motivation for invoking a Poirier rematch – for chartiy or otherwise – but now that a real offer has been made by the UFC, that might complicate things for the former two-division champion. McGregor already owns a 2014 win over Poirier at UFC 178, and he might not feel the need to revisit the bout, instead opting to wait for a title shot.
That’s where things get complicated. Current 155-pound champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, who fights Justin Gaethje later this month at UFC 254, has walked back previous comments that he wouldn’t rematch McGregor. There is a way for that to happen, as Nurmagomedov said he’d be willing to fight anyone – even McGregor – who beat Poirier.
“Look at it from his side, for sure there’s some upside there,” Poirier said. “Khabib said if him or Tony beat me that he would give them a shot at the title, so if that holds any weight, he’s looking at that. I don’t know what his ambition is, I don’t know how hungry he is to be the UFC lightweight world champion. If it is, a fight with me makes a lot of sense to get the next title shot.”
Of course, White has spoken highly about a rematch between Nurmagomedov and McGregor being massive for business, and perhaps McGregor’s 40-second finish of Donald Cerrone in January is enough for the UFC boss to grant his biggest star his wish. Or perhaps not, in which case McGregor could take a different fight altogether.
Poirier is well aware of how much of a wild card McGregor could be.
“He could push for a fight with Tony. That would be an exciting fight. I’m a fan of the sport, and I think that would be a good fight to watch, but Tony is coming off of a loss,” Poirier said. “I just had the interim title; I’m No. 2 (in the UFC rankings). I’m coming off of a win, a ‘Fight of the Year’ contender. I think it makes more sense. Every fight is a chance or a risk, no matter how prepared you are. If you’re gonna risk something, do it with the top guy and get a title shot.”