Poirier vs. Ferguson not a done deal
Late last month UFC president Dana White said the league was probably booking Dustin Poirier vs. Tony Ferguson. There were rumors the fight would take place at UFC 254: Nurmagomedov vs. Gaethje on October 24 on Fight Island, Abu Dhabi. However, Ariel Helwani reports for ESPN that the deal isn't done.
Helwani reports that Ferguson has verbally agreed to the fight, and that there do not appear to be significant hurdles to making the fight. "El Cucuy" saw his extraordinary 12-fight win streak broken by Justin Gaethje at UFC 249 on May 9 in the Fight of the Night; Gaethje got a Round 5 TKO, the interim UFC Lightweight Championship, and the shot at division champion Khabib Nurmagomedov. It looks like Ferguson gets Poirier, who lost to Nurmagomedov at UFC 242 and bounced back with a Fight of the Night decision over Dan Hooker. However, there's a catch - Poirier said the two sides have not been able to come to terms.
"I'm in," said Poirier to Helwani. "... I just need to be compensated if they want this fight. Simple as that. ... I'm a prize fighter and the prize needs to be right."
Helwani reports that if the Poirier vs. Ferguson fight is made, it will serve as the co-main of UFC 253. Further, if Nurmagomedov is removed for any reason, Poirier would fight Gaethje. And if Gaethje is removed from the fight, Ferguson would fight Nurmagomedov; that fight was made and fell apart five times. It would be beyond bizarre, and perfectly MMA, if that's how they end up fighting.
Nurmagomedov and Ferguson were scheduled to fight in 2015, but "The Eagle" withdrew with a rib injury. They were scheduled to fight in 2016, but Ferguson withdrew with a lung issue. In 2017 Nurmagomedov was hospitalized while cutting weight. In 2018, Ferguson evened up the withdrawal race when he tripped over cables while fulfilling media duties and tore ligaments in his knee. And then in the most MMA of moments, the fifth scheduled fight was canceled due to the COVID-19 global pandemic.
So what do you think UG?
•Does the UFC give "The Diamond" the prizes he wants (and deserves) so he fights in the co-main?
•And if the main falls apart, who is the more likely dropout?
•Could we end up with Khabib vs. Tony, at long last?