The easiest matchup to make after UFC 257 seemed to be Dustin Poirier and Michael Chandler, after both came out of Saturday’s pay-per-view event with impressive knockout victories.
But Poirier does not believe they are in the same category and he is not keen on fighting the former Bellator champion after stopping Conor McGregor in the pay-per-view headliner.
“I can guarantee I will not fight Michael Chandler,” Poirier told reporters, including MMA Fighting, at the post-fight UFC 257 press conference. “They can do whatever they want with the division. I do not care. If something makes sense, then we do it. ”
Chandler certainly made his contribution by stopping Hooker in the first round with a fierce display of striking. But as Nurmagomedov looks less and less likely to reverse a decision to retire from the sport, Poirier believes he should be considered champion.
Of course, Poirier actually does not hold the belt. But he was going to fight for it very soon, and if the UFC does the things he thinks they should be done, he said, then the person facing him next will be someone who has served the opportunity.
“I just worked,” he said. “That’s why I’m sitting here feeling I can talk about it because I’ve been in the division and the UFC for a long time and fought with the best of the best of the best.
“No lack of respect for [Chandler], he seems like a good man, a good father, he speaks well, has a lot of respect, behaves very well. It’s not a blow to him. It’s just my feelings about the division and the sport. I lost to Khabib, I came out and put a ‘Match of the Year’ for you, got my hand raised against a top-five opponent after that. Then I get in there and Khabib will not come back, so I knock out one of the biggest fights you can get. I’m knocking this guy out too.
“Khabib repeats that he does not want to fight anymore – guy, I’m a champion. I do not want to fight, some – and as I said, respect Chandler – a new guy to the UFC who just hit a guy coming out of a loss that I just hit for the belt. It’s not exciting for me. ”
This past June, Poirier Hooker passed by deciding to come back after a loss to Nurmagomedov in a title unifier. One candidate who more appealed to him was Charles Oliveira, who won his last eight fights and most recently nominated former temporary champ Tony Ferguson in a commanding performance.
“I think he has more [of a case for the title shot]Said Poirier. “I’ve seen that guy for 10 years in the UFC, two different weight classes. He has fought the best of the best over and over again. And he has been beaten down and raised, and he has proven what MMA and endurance are. I respect that. Not that I do not respect Michael Chandler. I just think there’s more work for him to do than beat a guy I just beat. ”
Oliveira was one of two names brought to the title shot, the other was Justin Gaethje who, like Poirier, lost an attempt to unite the belts. Before that, however, Gaethje was stopped by “The Diamond” in a brutal fight.
On the question of whether Oliveira or Gaethje had a better claim to the title shot, Poirier chose the Brazilian.
“Just because he’s never had the opportunity,” Poirier said. “Gaethje came right out here and got the beat, as I did. Not a bank on Gaethje, but he lost. I probably think Oliviera or let them fight to see who gets it. ”
Poirier will eventually see what the UFC has in store for him after getting some rest and relaxation. He put a giant feather in his cap by beating McGregor, the UFC’s biggest box office star and a former champion in two divisions. The next fight he takes must be one he can justify as a veteran who has served his team.