Justin Gaethje and Dustin Poirier discussed how they plan to decide when to retire.
On July 29, Gaethje and Poirier will headline UFC 291 in Salt Lake City, Utah, for the BMF title. The upcoming action-packed lightweight matchup is the second time they’ve fought, with ‘The Diamond’ winning by a fourth-round TKO in April 2018.
Both fighters have been through a handful of wars heading into UFC 291. Although Poirier and Gaethje plan to win UFC gold before retiring, they are slowly getting toward the end of the road. During an interview with Daniel Cormier, Gaethje had this to say about whether his upcoming fight is do or die:
“I don’t wanna put myself in a position where I gotta think if I lose, but I wouldn’t imagine. The fire is not gone. When I talk to in those hyperboles, I’m talking about the future, I’m talking about the reality of the situation. I’m 35 fights into a career, I’m 34 years old. There’s plenty examples of going too long, and I have people around me that love me that are gonna prevent that. I trust them, and when they wanna have that conversation, I’ll listen to them. For right now, we’re full steam ahead.”
Poirier followed up about when he plans to retire:
“I try not to focus on it. I know it’s coming, it’s inevitable. Father time is undefeated, but like Justin said, I’ve been fighting a long time. This is my 47th mixed martial arts fight, and we will see. I don’t look that far, one fight at a time. After July 29th, we assess the situation and take it from there, but I still feel great, man. My body feels good, my mind still feels good, I still love what I do, so as long as that’s there, I’m still here.”
It’s difficult for the UFC 291 headliners to consider retirement when they both secured impressive wins last time out. Poirier last fought in November 2022, defeating Michael Chandler with a third-round submission in a thrilling war. Meanwhile, Gaethje is coming off a Fight of the Year candidate against Rafael Fiziev on March 18, where he won by a majority decision.
Justin Gaethje believes the winner between him and Dustin Poirier could get the next lightweight title shot
The reigning UFC lightweight champion, Islam Makhachev, awaits his next title challenger. On June 10, Charles Oliveira and Beneil Dariush will go toe-to-toe in the UFC 289 co-main event, with a title shot potentially up for grabs.
If Dariush defeats Oliveira, he likely fights Makhachev next. If the roles are reversed, the situation becomes more interesting because ‘Do Bronx’ would only have one win since losing against the Russian world champion.
During the same interview with Daniel Cormier, Justin Gaethje had this to say about the title picture:
“These rankings are for a reason. They might not be as legit as we think they are, but he’s number two, I’m number three, number one is fighting number four, and the champion needs someone to fight. I think if [Beneil] Dariush wins, he’s gonna fight [Islam Makhachev] in October and the winner of that fight will fight the winner of this fight. If Oliveira losses, I think one of us is gonna be right back into camp.”
There’s a possibility that Gaethje meant to say he or Dustin Poirier would get the next title shot if Oliveira win. Regardless of what’s next, ‘The Highlight’ and Poirier are locked in on their upcoming fight at UFC 292, which goes down inside the Vivint Arena on July 29.