At UFC 281, Dustin Poirier scored another big win by defeating Michael Chandler after a bloody war. The fight earned Poirier his eighth Fight of the Night bonus, setting a category record and cementing the former interim champion as one of the brightest fighters of his generation.
Now, after victories over fellow violence stars Justin Gaethje, Eddie Alvarez and Conor McGregor, the question for Poirier is: what’s next? And right now, Diamond isn’t quite sure.
“Big fights. Fun fights,” Poirier told Ariel Helwani on MMA time. “I don’t know, dude. I completed the triangle of violence – finished Gaethje, finished Eddie, finished Chandler. There are a bunch of fights that would be crazy, I just don’t know the name right now.”
Poirier’s victory not only bolstered his integrity in the gambling department, but also saw the former interim champion establish himself in the top five in the lightweight division. So the most obvious next opponent for Poirier seems to be his fellow lightweight top-five Beneil Dariush. Dariush is currently on an eight win streak in the division and after UFC 281, The Diamond agreed that a BJJ black belt fight would make sense.
However, given some time after the fight, Poirier seems to have changed his mind.
“Honestly, not really,” Poirier said when asked if he wanted Dariush next. “No disrespect to Beneil. Great fighter and he did it right. He’s a very respectful guy, hardworking, and he goes out there and does things, and I respect that. I will watch when he fights. When we were just talking about other names I’ve fought recently, it’s not very interesting when I think about it.”
Instead, Poirier seems to be more focused on making important matches against other big names. The ones that, like Chandler, filled him with a sense of danger and could go down in history.
“I want this because it’s going to be fun fights, crazy fights, potential Fight of the Year fights,” Poirier said. “But it’s also the fights that give me these butterflies in my stomach every day, or when the contract ends and I see his name in front of him. I watched [Chandler] a long time in Bellator and I know some guys he beat. He is very explosive, and this danger is always the unknown, no matter how prepared you are. But when you get on the field and you have a guy of the caliber who can finish the fight in a second and hit you with shots, cover the distance, a lot of the things he does are very dangerous.”
While Dariush is undeniably dangerous, he is generally considered not to generate the same level of activity and interest as guys like Chandler, Gati and McGregor, and given that Poirier is one of the biggest stars in sports, the former interim champion has some leeway. how he wants to act.
If Poirier’s entire focus is on yet another title attempt, then Dariush is probably still the easiest way forward. But if he prefers more marketable fights instead, that doesn’t stop him from having a title conversation. After all, as Porrier notes, Islam Makhachev, who won the lightweight title, creates new opportunities and paths to the belt.
“It opens doors,” he said. “It leads to new matches and stuff like that, but I always knew there was a way back to the belt even if Charles had the belt. I can do whatever I want. I knew I could climb the mountain again, it was just whether I wanted to go through the killers and whether I wanted to fight three, four more times to put myself back in my place. I take this fight at a time. Not talking about retirement or anything, but I’ve been at it for so long and been so high and so low in it that it’s just one fight at a time.”