Dustin Poirier Offers To Replace Khabib Nurmagomedov At UFC 249
By Ross Markey
Former interim lightweight champion, Dustin ‘The Diamond’ Poirier, has offered his services on short-notice for UFC 249 on April 18th., despite already tentatively booked to meet Dan Hooker at UFC Fight Night San Diego in May. The Louisiana native has thrown his name into the hat to possibly replace a travel restricted, Khabib Nurmagomedov, and clash with number-one contender, Tony Ferguson, at UFC 249.
The slick striker is expected to headline UFC Fight Night San Diego on May 16th. against surging challenger, Dan ‘The Hangman’ Hooker – but that hasn’t prevented him from offering short-notice services. Poirier’s offer followed earlier news that #4 ranked contender, Justin Gaethje had been earmarked as a potential replaced for Khabib – who remains in his native Russia this Monday evening due to a state-issued lockdown due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Poirier last featured at UFC 242 in September of last year, losing via fourth-round rear-naked choke to Nurmagomedov, as he attempted to unify the lightweight titles. The 31-year-old underwent surgery on a troublesome hip recently and targeted a return to action in either April or May.
Speaking with ESPN reporter, Ariel Helwani this evening, Poirier explained how he would absolutely clash with Ferguson on short notice if the UFC were willing to offer him such an opportunity; “I’ll fight it they call me. I’m always down for some madness.”
Later in the evening, Poirier spoke with Damon Martin from MMA Fighting where he explained how he was still training in his native Louisiana amid the possibility of a call to action from the organisation.
“I’m still going to eat clean and run in the mornings,” Poirier told. “I’m about to train here in Louisiana with my buddies. I’m good to go. That’s not really a priority as of right now. I’m just kind of waiting it out, day by day, to see what happens.”
It’s believed if the promotion seeks a replacement for Ferguson, the competitor will have to be based in the United States as the organisation remain confident of securing a venue and location in the country despite the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic.
Before his submission loss to Nurmagomedov, Poirier had clinched the interim lightweight gold via a second win over then featherweight best, Max Holloway, and had lodged victories over former world champions, Gaethje, Eddie Alvarez, and Anthony Pettis, as part of a four fight win streak.