Dustin Poirier revealed that talks are indeed underway for a rubber match with Conor McGregor.
UFC President Dana White announced two weeks ago that the promotion is targeting a summer date for Conor McGregor vs. Dustin Poirier III.
Poirier handed McGregor the first TKO defeat of his mixed martial arts career with his second round stoppage of the Irishman at UFC 257 last month, avenging his 2014 loss to McGregor in the process.
While some have raised doubts about the logic of an immediate rubber match given the comprehensive nature of Poirier’s win, the UFC appears eager to recapture the pay-per-view success of UFC 257 as soon as possible.
A limited number of fans were allowed at UFC 257 under strict Covid-19 restrictions and Poirier has claimed that the importance of gate revenue cannot be overstated ahead of the trilogy bout.
“We’re just trying to get the right deal structured,” Poirier said on The Joe Rogan Experience. “This is going to be a big fight. He knocked me out, (and) I knocked him out. The trilogy. For sure one of the biggest fights this year, but maybe of all time.
Dustin Poirier got it done!
The Diamond levelled the rivalry in spectacular fashion at #UFC257 💎
Conor McGregor loses by KO for the first time in his career! pic.twitter.com/5CWFIVlUUn
— UFC on BT Sport (@btsportufc) January 27, 2021
“I don’t directly talk to them. They talk to my manager, Rob Roveta. We try to put ourselves in the best position to sit at the table with them and have a legit conversation about getting this fight booked. We’re trying to structure the right deal, and when that happens, the fight will be on. Until then, we’ll see.
“I think the trilogy makes a lot of sense and a lot of money. So we’re just trying to get the right deal structured and see what the timeframe is.
“For a guy like Conor, you want fans in there, even if it’s limited. Right now at the Apex where they’re set up in America, there’s obviously no fans. So where do you do that? And what’s the timeframe?”
McGregor blamed inactivity for his latest defeat, an explanation that stirred up plenty of debate, and ‘The Notorious’ is eager for a more active 2021.
"I have to dust it off and come back."
— UFC Europe (@UFCEurope) January 24, 2021
Poirier’s use of kicks to McGregor’s right calf proved to play a deciding role in the outcome of UFC 257’s main event and while McGregor and head coach John Kavanagh have vowed to address that particular technical issue, Poirier is not convinced it will be that easy.
“It’s not a lot of time to adjust or work on what he needs to work on for the calf kick, or whatever I want to switch up,” Poirier explained. “Getting right back in camp without really evolving outside of training camp.
“For me, I learn things inside of training camp because it’s just constantly under pressure, but it’s outside of training camps, times like right now where I’m in the gym having fun rolling and doing light kickboxing drills with my friends, where I feel like the big gains are made. When I’m having fun.
“It’s fighting. He’ll make adjustments. It’ll be a completely different fight, like the first one and the second was different. The third one is going to be different, as well, because I’m going to make adjustments, as well. I’ve got to switch it up and keeps things fresh and keep him guessing.”
The immediate future of the UFC’s lightweight division remains up in the air as Dana White continues to hold out hope of convincing reigning champion Khabib Nurmagomedov to return to the Octagon despite the undefeated Russian’s retirement announcement last October.
While Charles Oliveira has likely done enough to warrant a title shot, so too has Poirier, who is ranked first in the 155lbs division.
Poirier doesn’t think the lightweight title should be on the line in his rubber match with McGregor, however, as ‘The Diamond’ is of the opinion that McGregor doesn’t deserve the opportunity based on his recent showings.
“No, I don’t think (he should fight for a title),” Poirier said. “Conor’s been away so long. His last two fights at 155, he’s lost. So you can’t put him in there for a title fight.
“How could you justify doing that when you have guys like Oliveira?’