UFC: What’s next for Dustin Poirier?

Dustin Poirier, UFC

There is no doubt that Dustin Poirier (26-6, 1 NC) is one of the best lightweights in the UFC. In fact, you could definitely say he’s one of the best fighters in the promotion.

The Diamond is 6-1 with 1 NC in his last eight fights defeating some of the best names in the sport. His lone loss coming to the UFC‘s undisputed lightweight king, Khabib Nurmagomedov.

Last month, Poirier defeated Dan Hooker at UFC on ESPN 12 in an instant classic. Poirier has had some time to heal and was interviewed by Jim Rome about his future this week.

“I’ve been fighting for a while, I have 40 fights, and I want these last four or five years to really mean something every time I get into the octagon… I really want to leave a legacy” Poirier told Rome.

When asked about what he wants next, Poirier said, “It needs to be a really big name or a title fight. I’ve been doing this for 10 years in the UFC, and I still love fighting, but I want these fights to mean more than just a fight.”

What should the UFC do?

Given how brutal the last fight was with Hooker, I would still give Poirier a little time before offering him a fight if I was the UFC. If he’s not going to get a title shot next, ESM’s Olivier Dumont suggests he start with Tony Ferguson (25-4).

Like Poirier, Ferguson is also a former UFC interim lightweight champion. Ferguson just suffered his first loss in May after going on a winning streak that spanned seven years.

A fight between the two men would determine a clear number one contender in the lightweight division. The fight would be a fight that fans would love to see.

Another matchup that the fans would love to see is the rematch with the sports most famous fighter, Conor McGregor (22-4).

McGregor is retired for now, but he’s likely going to fight for the title upon his return to the octagon. However, if the UFC persuades him to take another fight, Poirier makes perfect sense.

The two men fought at featherweight years ago, and McGregor stopped Poirier in the first round at UFC 178. The two men are much better now and a rematch would be fascinating to watch.

One outside the box idea that I like would be a fight with Nate Diaz (20-12). Yes, Diaz has said that he doesn’t want to cut to 155 anymore, but this fight was already scheduled once. The fight was originally scheduled for UFC 230.

If Poirier wants a big name, he’s not going to get much better than Diaz. Who knows when we will see Diaz again, but a fight with Poirier would be one I’d be excited for.

There are several avenues the UFC can go with Poirier. I think Ferguson is the most likely if you ask me, but it will be interesting to see how the promotion moves forward with The Diamond.

UFC: Gilbert Burns on if Masvidal wins at UFC 251: “It’s gonna be a circus”

We are just a few days away from the UFC‘s first card on Fight Island. There has been so much going on over the past few days that it’s felt like a UFC circus.

Top contender, Gilbert Burns (19-3), was removed from his UFC title fight after testing positive for COVID-19. Original number one contender, Jorge Masvidal (35-13), stepped up to replace Burns. Burns was interviewed by ESPN’s Brett Okamoto where he was asked about all of the events over the past week.

“I heard Masvidal jumped in, and to be honest, I’m happy with that… That’s the fight that everyone wanted.” Burns said to Okamoto. Burns was asked about his feelings on the fight and future opportunities to which he responded, “If Masvidal wins, things are going to get crazy in the division. It’s gonna be a circus…” Burns said with a smile.

UFC’s welterweight picture & Gilbert Burns’ future

After watching the full interview, you cannot walk away not being a fan of Gilbert Burns. Most people would be completely devastated still after losing this opportunity. However, Burns continues to smile just wanting to get back into the cage.

Burns does have a good point about the UFC‘s welterweight division. If Masvidal is able to win on Saturday, the division is going to get turned on it’s head. Masvidal is not going to fight the next guy in-line, but instead, he’s going to look for the fight with the most dollar signs.

If Usman is able to retain his UFC welterweight title, Burns might get the next shot. However, there is always the possibility that the UFC runs the fight back with Masvidal giving Gambred a full training camp. If you’re a contender in the division like Burns, you should be pulling for Usman to win on Saturday. If Jorge Masvidal is able to claim the UFC title, you might see someone like Nate Diaz or Conor McGregor get the next shot at the welterweight title.

UFC: What’s next for Nate Diaz?

There might not be a bigger anomaly in MMA than the UFC‘s Nate Diaz (20-12). Diaz has blossomed into a superstar over the last couple of years after his two fights with Conor McGregor. Diaz marches to the beat of his own drum, and he’s uncensored at all times. He’s even been awarded the chance to slap UFC President, Dana White. The last time we saw Diaz, his fight with Jorge Masivdal was getting called off due to a cut. Since then, we haven’t heard much. So what is next for the 35-year-old from Stockton?

UFC’s next steps with Diaz

Diaz is on the shortlist for the biggest stars in the sport. However, he’s notoriously difficult to make a deal with from the UFC‘s side of things. Diaz knows what he’s worth, and he’s not afraid to just walk away from the table if he’s not paid. Most of the time, they find some middle ground, but if it favors anyone over the last couple of years, it favors Diaz.

Diaz has said that he would prefer to stay at 170 pounds if he does fight again. He said that he wasn’t interested in cutting the extra weight to lightweight. However, there is one fight on this shortlist of matchups I have that would have him return to lightweight, and I think it’s one fans would love to see.

Tony Ferguson

This one is a little outside the box, but how much fun would this be? This is a matchup that many in the media have floated around for the last couple of years. Both are two of the most entertaining fighters in the business with endless cardio. Ferguson (25-4) is coming off of a UFC interim title loss to Justin Gaethje, and he needs another opponent when he’s ready. Some have suggested Dustin Poirier, but I’m thinking of someone with a little more star power.

This fight would such a fun fight to promote. Two extremely interesting personalities, and two guys who are not opposed to going to war with the other. Again, Diaz has said he doesn’t want to cut back down to lightweight which makes this one less likely, but I think Ferguson is the type of opponent that he would do it for.

Jorge Masvidal

It’s no secret that there’s a contract dispute with Jorge Masvidal and the UFC. Masvidal (35-13) was supposed to fight for the title, but contract negotiations have nixed that. Masvidal beat Diaz last November for the BMF title, but fans were robbed of a definitive ending when a doctor called the fight off due to a cut over Diaz’s eye. Prior to the fight being called off, Diaz had some of his better moments in the fight.

A fight with Diaz would pay Masvidal what he wants. A fight with Masvidal would also get Diaz motivated to get back into the cage. If the UFC wants to make a big-time fight later in the fall, I think they could run back the BMF title fight. Hopefully a rogue doctor at ringside wouldn’t call this one off before the fans could get the ending that they deserve.

Conor McGregor

If you want a fight that makes 100% sense on all sides, look no further than this one. Conor McGregor (22-4) and Diaz have fought twice with each fighter gaining a victory. Diaz shocked the world back at UFC 196 when he submitted McGregor in the second round. McGregor won the rematch by majority decision at UFC 202 later that year.

The two men are two of the biggest stars in the sport. They are 1-1 in their head-to-head matchups, and they need a conclusion to the rivalry. McGregor has “Retired” for now due to the lack of fights that were being offered to him. Let’s be clear, McGregor is not actually retired, but more frustrated with the current situation. Diaz is just waiting on the UFC to call him and offer him something worth fighting for.

An easy fix to everything would be pairing the two men up for the fall. Will it happen? I personally don’t think so. I think it’s more likely that Diaz and Masvidal fight again before McGregor and Diaz. The reasoning is that I think the UFC is likely going to give McGregor the winner of Khabib/Gaethje for the lightweight title near the end of the year. If Diaz still hasn’t fought by the time McGregor gets his shot, I think the trilogy fight likely becomes his next fight.

Imagine if McGregor wins the title back in late 2020. If he does it against Khabib, the UFC could either conclude that trilogy, or the UFC could give Diaz a title shot concluding the McGregor/Diaz trilogy. All of these are fun possibilities to think about. I’m not sure who Diaz is going to fight next, but I know for a fact it’s going to be someone with some name recognition.

UFC: What is next for Jorge Masvidal?

A couple of months ago, this was an easy question to answer. Jorge Masvidal (35-13) was going to be fighting for the UFC welterweight title in his next fight. “Gamebred” won fighter of the year in 2019 after knocking out top welterweights Darren Till and Ben Askren. Masvidal capped his year off with beating Nate Diaz for the BMF title back in November. All that was left was for Masvidal to fight Kamaru Usman for the title. However, due to failed negotiations we have seen the title shot go to Gilbert Burns. Now that the title shot is gone, what is next for the BMF? Let’s take a look at four realistic options for Jorge Masvidal’s next fight.

Colby Covington

This fight would have the most personal heat, and it’s the fight that probably makes the most sense from a rankings perspective. Former teammates and roommates turned bitter rivals. A fight between Masvidal and Colby Covington (15-2) makes all the sense in the world. Masvidal has been wanting to get paid more for his next fight. A fight with Covington would be a big money maker. Love him or hate him, Colby Covington has turned into must see TV. After reinventing himself a couple of years ago, he has blown up in popularity.

The two men were once closer than brothers if you just take a look at their Instagram accounts from a few years ago. They were both constantly talking about taking over the UFC‘s welterweight division together. Fast forward to now, and both men cannot stop insulting each other in public whenever the other is mentioned. Covington has left American Top Team due to all of the tension that was in the gym. Whether it was a shoot or reality, the heat has seemingly become real between the two. This fight would be a massive seller for the UFC. A fight between Covington and Masvidal would also give a clear number one contender to challenge the winner of the Usman/Burns fight in July.

Nate Diaz

When everything started to go south with the title negotiations, Masvidal turned his attention to Nate Diaz (20-12) with one tweet.

This tweet caught a lot of people off guard considering the fact that everyone was assuming that Usman/Masvidal was opening. Of course we all learned how the negotiations went, and now Masvidal is left without a dance partner. Well, the November BMF title fight left a lot to be desired. Not because of the fight itself, but because of how the fight ended. The fight was getting ready to head into the championship rounds when a ringside doctor called it off due to a cut.

Diaz had some really good moments in the third after Masvidal had dominated most of the fight. Masvidal made more money against Diaz than he was offered to fight Usman. Well, how about running back the BMF title fight as Masvidal suggested? Have to think that the UFC would pony up a little more money considering the star that Nate Diaz is. This would give Masvidal a fight, and it would give the fans a proper conclusion to the BMF title fight that they were robbed of in November.

Winner of Usman/Burns

Probably the easiest thing for Masvidal to do at this point is wait. Kamaru Usman (16-1) and Gilbert Burns (19-3) are fighting in a couple of weeks for the UFC welterweight title. Masvidal can sit on the sidelines while these two go at it. After the fight is over, Masvidal can go back to the UFC to negotiate fighting the winner. The UFC supposedly made a last minute effort to try to get Masvidal to fight Usman on July 11th, but the money just never worked for Gamebred. After all of this fuss, maybe a second round of negotiations after July 11th will go smoother. In an ideal world, Usman would beat Burns on July 11th, and the UFC would move right back to try to book Usman/Masvidal. Realistically, I think this will be the first option considering the fight is just weeks away.

Conor McGregor

Red panty night anyone? Masvidal wants to get paid, and Conor McGregor (22-4) just wants to fight. McGregor “retired” due to the frustrations he had with the UFC for not giving him a fight. Masvidal passed up a title fight due to his frustrations with pay. Do you see where I’m going with this? A fight with Masvidal and McGregor is a win-win for everyone. Masvidal would get the paycheck that he’s searching for. McGregor would get an opponent who would stand and trade with him, and the UFC would hit it out of the park with a massive PPV. I mean imagine a fight with McGregor and Masvidal with no fans. You could hear every word that the two would say to each other. The McGregor fight is one that Masvidal has wanted for a while, and it’s a fight that makes sense for both men. For Conor, he could lose the fight, but not lose ground in the lightweight division. It’s a fight that makes a lot of sense, but I’m not confident the UFC will move to book it.

What does the UFC do?

It’s crazy, but the two biggest fights in terms of PPV money are the two least likely from the UFC‘s perspective. I just don’t see the UFC pushing to make the McGregor or the Diaz fight for Masvidal. My guess is that they will wait to see how July 11th goes. If Usman gets through Gilbert Burns, I think they start up the talks again to have Masvidal fight Usman for the title in the fall. If that fight doesn’t materialize the UFC could pivot to try and booking Masvidal with Covington. However, a roadblock there could be the UFC trying to book the rematch between Usman and Covington. I respect Masvidal for sticking to his guns, but if he gets another chance at Usman, I really hope he doesn’t pass it up. I don’t think the UFC will give him the money fights he’s looking for, so if he doesn’t get the title shot, who knows what’ll happen to him. Gamebred soared to stardom last year, and it is crazy to think that there’s a possibility that the 2019 fighter of the year will not fight in 2020.

UFC: Who will Conor McGregor fight next?

Conor McGregor, UFC

UFC fans all around the world have been pondering the question, “Who is Conor McGregor going to fight next?” The former two-division champion made his triumphant return to action back in January, where he starched fan favorite Donald Cerrone in 40 seconds with a devastating combination of shoulder strikes and a high kick. It was a great way to kick off the year, and Conor made the statement that he would love to fight several times in 2020.

Well, the world encountered a global pandemic that has really thrown a wrench in McGregor’s original plans. It’s becoming clear to me that the UFC was going to have Conor fight the winner of the Tony Ferguson/Khabib Nurmagomedov fight that was originally scheduled for April. That fight, of course, fell through, and Tony Ferguson fought Justin Gaethje instead. Of course, Gaethje spoiled the party by upsetting Ferguson to be crowned Interim Lightweight Champion of the UFC.

Conor McGregor has been extremely active on Twitter, calling out people and saying he is ready to fight. With that in mind, let’s look at four men who could be a possibility for the Notorious one’s next fight.

Nate Diaz

You just had to know that we were starting with this. Imagine a Conor McGregor/Nate Diaz trilogy fight with nobody in the stands on the UFC’s Fight Island. You could hear every word that these two rivals would be saying to each other. To me, this is the fight that makes the most sense from a business perspective for Conor McGregor. It is clear that Conor McGregor would like to get back to UFC gold, but there’s a roadblock at 155. Interim Champ, Justin Gaethje, is currently waiting for his shot at Khabib Nurmagomedov.

Those two are not likely to fight until September, and it’s highly unlikely that McGregor will sit out until the winter to get his shot at the belt. That is where Nate Diaz comes into the equation.

The two rivals have a history, and it needs to be settled once and for all. Nate Diaz shocked the world back in 2016 when he took a fight against Conor McGregor on short notice. After getting touched up early, Diaz found his groove and took it to a tired McGregor. Diaz would go on to submit McGregor in the second round via rear-naked choke. The two immediately ran that fight back a few months later, and it was a back and forth classic. McGregor took that close fight by Majority Decision. With the two fan favorites currently 1-1 in their series, it would just make the most sense to run this one back a third time. There are no easy fights for Conor McGregor right now, but arguably the most winnable option for him would be Nate Diaz. He has the blueprint for beating Nate Diaz, and I think he would if they were to fight a third time. Conor could make the most amount of money in this fight, and it would be another big win for him as he awaits the winner of the Nurmagomedov/Gaethje fight in September.

Jorge Masvidal

Who would not want to see this fight happen? This was the hot fight that everyone was talking about after Conor McGregor stopped Donald Cerrone back in January. Jorge Masvidal was in the front row for that fight wearing a robe that matched the robe Conor McGregor wore in his fight with Floyd Mayweather. Masvidal was coming off of his victory for the BMF Title over Nate Diaz.

Nobody in the sport had a better year in 2019 than Jorge Masvidal. Masvidal knocked out Darren Till in England, knocked Ben Askren out in 5 seconds, then beat Nate Diaz and had The Rock wrap a BMF title around his waist to cap it off. Masvidal has a personality that would sell, and I bet he’d be willing to put that BMF title up for grabs in a fight with Conor McGregor. Masvidal used to fight at 155, so there wouldn’t be a huge size discrepancy between the two men. It’s a tougher fight for Conor than Nate Diaz would be, but it’s another fight that Conor could win. This fight would be a standup war, and one thing people can’t deny is how good Conor McGregor is on his feet. He’s one of the best in the business at gauging the range and timing shots when he’s on top of his game. Not sure if either man would get a finish in this fight, but it would be a fun war to watch.

Justin Gaethje

This would be the most personal of all the options for Conor McGregor. McGregor recently turned to Twitter to call out Gaethje where he mentioned Gaethje’s comments about McGregor’s skills as a father. This is a fight that Conor wants really badly, and it would be a fight that would give him at least some gold if he’s able to win. As mentioned above, Gaethje is currently waiting for his shot against Khabib for the Undisputed Lightweight title. However, there is one factor that could throw everything off. There have been many reports out of Russia on the condition of Khabib’s trainer and father, Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov. Khabib is a very private person when it comes to his family, but one thing that isn’t private is his love for his father. The elder Nurmagomedov is currently battling for his life due to Covid-19. Recent reports have suggested he’s either in a medically induced coma or he’s on life support. With everything going on with his father, I’m not sure Khabib is going to be fighting anytime soon. If that turns out to be the case, you will likely see the UFC move to book Conor McGregor vs Justin Gaethje for the interim lightweight title.

On paper, this would seem to be a fight that would give Conor McGregor trouble with Gaethje’s ability to wrestle, but that is just not Gaethje’s style, which will play right into Conor McGregor’s hands. Justin Gaethje has insane power, and he’s very fast, but Conor McGregor is not Tony Ferguson when it comes to striking. In a pure striking match, I do not believe Justin Gaethje could beat Conor McGregor unless he knocks him out. I think the diversity of Conor’s striking techniques, along with his ability to time straight counters, would give Gaethje fits throughout the evening. Eddie Alvarez, who fought both men, believes that McGregor would finish Justin Gaethje. Styles make matchups, and this is not a matchup that would excitement as a Gaethje fan unless he said he would mix in his wrestling, which we all know he wouldn’t.

Kamaru Usman

Wouldn’t this be something? Conor McGregor getting a shot to become the first man in UFC history to hold a title in three different weight divisions, would be huge business for the UFC but a nightmare of a fight for Conor McGregor. Khabib Nurmagomedov is a nightmare matchup for Conor McGregor, and it showed in their first fight. To be fair, I don’t believe we saw the best version of Conor McGregor in that fight, but either way, it’s a tough matchup. Kamaru Usman is like Khabib except much bigger and stronger.

This would be one fight where even the die-hard Conor McGregor fans would have to look at it and question the odds. The Nigerian Nightmare would immediately shoot once the opening bell sounded. If he couldn’t take Conor down, he’d likely lean on him by the cage and engage in some dirty boxing. We’ve seen Conor McGregor gas in fights before, and this is a fight that would have the potential to zap his energy exceptionally quickly. I’m not sure there’s a worse matchup for Conor in the UFC right now than Kamaru Usman.

Would it be a huge fight for the legacy of Conor McGregor? Absolutely, because no man has ever held a title in three weight classes, but the mountain he’d have to climb is a steep and tall one. The only way McGregor wins the title in this fight would be to stop Usman early with a clean shot. Does Conor have the pop to take out Usman at 170? There is no question that Conor McGregor is a better striker than Kamaru Usman, but this isn’t a kickboxing match. In the world of MMA, this is a fight I do not like if I’m a Conor McGregor fan.

Who will it be?

Thinking through everything, it still makes the most sense for Conor McGregor to fight Nate Diaz in his next fight. The history is there, and it’s the fight that makes the most sense. Let’s hope and pray that Khabib’s father recovers so his life can get back to normal and as fight fans we get to see the Nurmagomedov/Gaethje fight in September. If Conor can beat Nate Diaz, he can turn his attention to the winner of the September title fight. Kamaru Usman and Jorge Masvidal need to fight for the 170-pound title. It’s the fight that makes the most sense at that weight class, and it’s a fight that needs to happen. If Conor McGregor is able to capture the 155-pound title before 2021, the UFC could then turn their attention to doing a champion versus champion fight in Q1 of 2021 with Conor McGregor facing off against whoever is the welterweight champion.