With lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov’s potential retirement, fans have been calling for an interim title to be put on the line for the forthcoming Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor rematch. However this is not something that Dustin is particularly interested in having.
The first time Poirier and McGregor squared off, it was a featherweight bout in 2014 that saw the Irishman earn a quick TKO win. Since that bout, both men have left the 145lb division behind and experienced their own levels of success at lightweight. Now they have been brought back together, to square off at UFC 257, in what is a consensus number one contender fight.
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Dustin Poirier Not Looking For Another Interim Title
The main problem with the idea of Dustin Poirier vs Conor McGregor 2 being a number one contender fight, is the fact that Khabib, the champion, could be retiring from competition. This has led many to call for an interim title to be put on the line for this January contest. However Dustin recently explained in an interview that he does not want to fight for an interim title, instead saying that the division needs clarity.
“Unless Khabib is taking a lot of time away from the sport, I don’t think an interim belt should be introduced,” Poirier explained. “I think the division needs clarity, and needs an undisputed world champion. There’s no reason for that unless is out for a long time. If he’s retired then the next two guys in line need to fight for the belt. If he’s not retired, it has to be in the next five, six months, right? The guy can’t take a year off between fights.”
That being said, having already won an interim title in the past, Poirier is aware that it allows fighters to get more money when to look to unify the belt. So he would be down to have an interim title, if this is what the UFC wants.
“I love what I do, but I have a family to feed,” Poirier said. “If there’s an opportunity to make more money then I will make more, I’ll take that of course. It’s the same fight for more money. I want to be the undisputed world champion. If the next step is the interim belt again, then we’ll go that route. But I just want to know what’s going on with Khabib. The division needs clarity, and it’s needed it for a long time.”
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Focusing On What He Can Control
Dustin Poirier has openly admitted that when he fought Conor McGregor the first time, the Irishman’s trash talking antics got the best of him. Heading Into this rematch, he has expressed how important it is to prevent that from happening again. To do so, Dustin has an exercise that he likes to do, to help him remember what is within his control.
“(I will) keep working, and keep focusing on what I can control,” Poirier said. “All that is noise. At the beginning of camps now, I draw a circle on a piece of paper and write the date of the fight in the middle. Everything I have control over, I write in that circle. Everything I don’t have control over, I write outside of that circle, and the (trash talk) is outside of that circle. I have no control. It doesn’t matter to me. I have control over my dedication, my mindset, my weight, my training schedule, my effort in the training sessions, my focus on improvement. I have so much to worry about already and control, that that stuff…I can’t.
“Some of the best fighters in history have used mental warfare,” Poirier continued. “That’s something that you have to go through. For me, I had to go through it to realize how much I was caught up in it. The first fight I didn’t feel like I was fighting Conor. I felt like I was fighting the UFC, I felt like I was fighting the media, the fans, the critics, the people in the stands. I felt like it was me against the world when I walked into the Octagon the first time. It’s not that. Of course the pressure is still on me to keep the wins going, to keep the streak alive, to fight for the belt again. All that stuff is always weighing on me, but at this point in my career I just feel comfortable with the way I am, and that’s it.”
How do you think Dustin Poirier will perform against Conor McGregor this time around?