Dustin Poirier is heading into an important third fight against UFC superstar Conor McGregor at UFC 264 on July 10, but “The Diamond” already has a plan for what comes next after the trilogy capper is over. Poirier revealed in an interview with “The Fight with Teddy Atlas” that he hopes to challenge UFC lightweight champion Charles Oliveira next after UFC 264 is over.
“Yeah, that will be a hell of a fight,” Poirier said.
Atlas didn’t press Poirier much on the matter because he didn’t want to steer Poirier’s attention away from the goal of beating McGregor. Poirer stopped McGregor at UFC 257 and plans on doing the same thing this summer.
But Poirier did share some of his thoughts about Oliveira’s stunning win over Michael Chandler at UFC 262. “The Diamond” lauded the UFC’s new lightweight champ as the best fighter he’s ever been.
“I think we saw a new wrinkle from Oliveira as well. Before, if he was down, he just couldn’t rally himself back into the fight. This fight, he was down, almost finished in the fight, and came back,” Poirier said.
Olveira’s Character Is What Sets New Champ Apart
Poirier and Atlas also talked about how Oliveira’s long and challenging road to his UFC title helped the Brazilian become a more complete fighter. At one point, Oliveira was 10-8 in the UFC, and how he’s his division’s champion riding a nine-fight win streak.
“He developed that character over the years of being tested,” Poirier said.
That idea especially seemed to hit home for Atlas, a Hall of Fame boxing trainer who expressed frustration about professional boxers not getting the same kinds of challenging fights they need to help them improve the way UFC fighters commonly do because boxers seem to want to protect their records at all costs.
Poirier labeled Oliveira “a true champion” and seemed genuinely excited about the prospect of facing him later this year with UFC gold on the line.
“I’m very impressed with him,” Poirier said.
Poirier Chose Facing McGregor Over Title Shot
Poirier is currently ranked the No. 1 contender in the UFC’s lightweight rankings, but he chose to face McGregor again in an immediate rematch over being paired with someone else to crown the UFC’s vacant 155-pound title.
Poirier’s choice left No. 3-ranked Oliveira and No. 4-ranked Chandler with the chance to grab gold at UFC 262.
It was a back and forth battle, one Atlas compared to the 1985 superfight boxing match between Marvin Hagler and Thomas Hearns.
Oliveira won the fight, and he’s now the champion of arguably the most stacked division in MMA.
But the question everyone wants to know now is who he’ll fight next. Poirier hopes it’s him.
Why Poirier Would Make Sense
UFC president Dana White refused to give the media an idea about who might be next for Oliveira after he won the belt at UFC 262, but it seems Poirier already has his own answer.
So Poirier plans on beating McGregor again at UFC 264, and he wants to face Oliveira for the UFC lightweight championship right after that.
As the top-ranked contender in the division and a former interim champion, Poirier would certainly seem to be the top choice assuming he beats McGregor again on July 10.
That’s a big assumption. After all, McGregor is still the slight favorite on the betting market.
But Poirier was an even bigger underdog in the last fight, and he stopped McGregor anyway. The American plans on winning again at UFC 264, and he hopes to challenge Oliveira for the title after that.
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