Dustin Poirier – What is Next for ‘The Diamond’?

Dustin Poirier
ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - SEPTEMBER 04: Dustin Poirier interacts with fans at Yas Mall on September 4, 2019 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Dustin ‘The Diamond’ Poirier is one of the most recognisable faces in the UFC. Having been a member of the organisation since 2011, he is a shining example of what an MMA fighter should be. His never give up attitude lead to him finally realising a title shot in 2019. Although he came up short in the fight, no one can deny he is a star. Having been out of action since his unsuccessful title shot and struggled with injuries, we ask: What is next for Dustin Poirier?

Featherweight Beginnings

Having competed in the WEC, Dustin Poirier made his UFC debut in 2011, taking on Josh Grispi. Winning his debut by unanimous decision, Poirier progressed to 9-1. Three fights and two opponent changes later, he welcomed future featherweight king, Max Holloway to the UFC. After submitting Holloway in the first, Poirier realised his first main event against Chan Sung Jung. Although he would come up short and suffer his first UFC loss, it certainly put eyes on ‘The Diamond’. 

The McGregor Fight

After a run of 4-1 in his next five fights, Poirier would face the up and coming, brash Irishman, Conor Mcgregor. After a bitter build-up, constant trash talk back and forth, the stage was set. The fight got a lot of hype, arguably due to the star power of McGregor. This was only good for Poirier, however.

LAS VEGAS, NV – SEPTEMBER 26: (L-R) Opponents Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor of Ireland face off during the UFC 178 weigh-in at the MGM Grand Conference Center on September 26, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Although the fight was billed as McGregor’s toughest test to date, it didn’t play out like that. McGregor would ultimately finish Poirer in the first round. With a sweet shot just behind the ear of the American, it was all over in just under two minutes.

Lightweight Title Run

Following the knockout loss to McGregor, Dustin Poirier would return to lightweight. In a run that would start in 2015, he would go 9-2 and one no contest. He beat two former lightweight champions, the (at the time) featherweight champion, a former WSOF champion, featured in five main events, notched six finishes and gained seven post-fight bonuses. Poirier at lightweight is money.

Starting his 155lbs career with four straight wins, Poirier picked up his first UFC loss at lightweight. Set to headline against Michael Johnson, again the build-up was full of trash talk. It was clear these two men didn’t like each other. Unfortunately for Dustin Poirier, he came out of the rivalry worse off. He suffered a brutal knockout in the first round. This coincidently was Johnson’s last win at lightweight to date.

Alvarez Controversy

Dustin Poirier returned with a three-round, main card fight against veteran Jim Miller. In a back and forth fight, ‘The Diamond’ came away with the majority decision. Then came the Eddie Alvarez controversy.

In what was Alvarez’s first fight since losing the belt to McGregor at UFC 205, the two would face off in a bout that had fans salivating. Both men have fan-friendly styles and the fight played out as expected. Despite entertaining early, the fight ended in controversy. Alvarez landed an illegal knee to the downed Poirier injuring his opponent.

Dustin Poirier vs Eddie Alvarez
DALLAS, TX – MAY 13: (R-L) Eddie Alvarez is told to go to his corner after an illegal knee Dustin Poirier in their lightweight fight during the UFC 211 event at the American Airlines Center on May 13, 2017 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Poirier was unable to continue and referee Herb Dean ruled the fight a no-contest. Would the rematch come to fruition? Well, not straight away. Both men would notch a finish victory over the durable Justin Gaejthe. Poirier would also finish Anthony Pettis before being granted the rematch he felt he deserved.

The rematch between the two was set to be the UFC on FOX 30 main event. The second fight took off just as the first one started, with both men consistently landing on one another. Dustin Poirier would eventually finish Alvarez in the second round, following a stand-up as a result of yet another Alvarez foul.

Diaz, Pullouts, Interim Belts and Title Shot

Following the Alvarez rematch, it was quickly becoming clear that Poirier was a top contender at 155lbs. With the division tied up by Khabib Nurmagomedov‘s suspension, Poirer was booked to welcome Nate Diaz back to the UFC. Diaz hadn’t fought at lightweight since 2015 and this fight excited fans. Scheduled for UFC 230, many thought that this could main event the card.

Unfortunately, this fight never came to fruition. Poirier was forced out of the bout with an injury. This one, in particular, was tough for fans to take. When announced, it excited fans.

Dustin Poirier vs Max Holloway 2

UFC 236‘s main event would see a rematch between Poirier and Holloway. This time, however, it would be at lightweight for the interim title belt. Coming into the bout, Poirier was enjoying a five-fight unbeaten streak. Holloway was riding a 13 fight winning streak and was the reigning featherweight champion.

In a fight of the year contender, Poirier defeated Holloway by unanimous decision. He captured the interim lightweight belt and set up a bout with the champion, Nurmagomedov.

The Eventual Title Shot

Dustin Poirier would have a shot at becoming the undisputed lightweight champion. Unfortunately for him, it would come against the undefeated Khabib Nurmagomedov. With a record of 27-0 before their bout, Nurmagomedov has been almost flawless in his octagon career. As if the task wasn’t hard enough, Poirier would be stepping into enemy territory in Abu Dhabi.

In the third round, Dustin Poirier fell like the 27 before him. Finished via rear-naked choke, Poirier was unable to really get his game off. Following the bout, it leads us to ask the question: What’s next for Dustin Poirier?

What’s next?

There are two main options for Poirier. Firstly, a run back at the lightweight belt. There are a number of top contenders that he hasn’t fought. Al IaquintaPaul FelderDan HookerTony FergusonDonald Cerrone and Kevin Lee are all fighters that Poirier is yet to fight at 155lbs. This leaves him with a number of good options within the lightweight division. The McGregor rematch has also been rumoured as of late.

What fight does former interim champion want? The money fight. At 170lbs. Against Nate Diaz.

He called out Diaz at welterweight for a fight in May or July’s international fight week card. Is it a bout the fans would be interested in? For sure. Does it have title implications at 170? Not really, Diaz is not in the title picture at welterweight. If Poirier is able to put on a dominant performance in his welterweight debut, it will certainly put him within the top contenders in the division. If this fight comes to fruition, it will certainly be exciting and the aftermath will certainly be interesting.

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