One of the most highly anticipated lightweight matchups of the fall will not happen. The UFC was planning on having Tony Ferguson (25-4) and Dustin Poirier (26-6, 1 NC) co-headline UFC 254. The promotion has been working on this fight for a while.
Things started to get bumpy when Poirier said yesterday that he was a, “Prize fighter and the prize needs to be right.” Seemingly, Poirier was suggesting that the negotiations with the UFC were not going well.
Well, ESPN’s Ariel Helwani is reporting this afternoon that the highly anticipated matchup between Poirier and Ferguson is off. According to Poirier, “UFC and I couldn’t come to terms. I won’t be fighting on October 24th.”
The Diamond is heading home ? (via @arielhelwani) pic.twitter.com/v3qMTIvfY4
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) September 10, 2020
What does the UFC do now?
It’s tough to say what the UFC is planning to do next. We don’t know how far they were apart with Poirier, but for the fight to fall apart publicly, my guess is that the numbers were not close. I think the promotion will still try to keep Ferguson on the card.
In looking at the rankings, it’s possible that the UFC tries to throw Dan Hooker (20-9) in there. Hooker is coming off of a loss back in June to Poirier, but from a rankings perspective, he would be the next in line. I’m not counting Conor McGregor here.
Of course, there is a much sexier option that I would offer the UFC. Why not call up the hottest free agent in the business in Michael Chandler (21-5)? Chandler said that if he comes to the UFC, he wants to go right into the deep end. Doesn’t get much deeper than El Cucuy.
Of course, the UFC could always try to renegotiate the fight with Poirier for a later date. Time will tell what happens, but this is a tough blow for fans that were pumped for this fight.