Dustin Poirier has expressed his disappointment over the cancelled 2018 fight with Nate Diaz and doubts that their paths will cross again, as Diaz is moving on to boxing.
Dustin Poirier’s got a bit of a chip on his shoulder. He’s starting to think that his 2018 showdown with Nate Diaz might be the closest he’ll ever get to trading blows with the infamous Stockton slap master.
Diaz? He wasn’t even on the list of potential opponents Poirier was given during his UFC discussions. Those talks ended with Poirier being scheduled, unscheduled, and then rescheduled to fight Benoit Saint Denis at UFC 299. Poirier’s attempts to lure Diaz into the ring have all ended in disappointment.
“We did talk about Nate a bit,” Poirier admits. “But I don’t think they’re bringing him back. I’m not sure…I don’t want to dive into all that drama.”
Poirier’s got a sense of resignation about the whole thing. “The Nate fight’s probably not happening. I don’t know how many fights I have left — I think six with the UFC,” he shared on The MMA Hour. “He’s moving on to boxing and stuff. I just don’t see how our paths will cross. But I just wanted to fight this guy because I grew up watching him.”
Back when Poirier and Diaz were first matched up for UFC 230, Poirier was still climbing the ranks. He hadn’t yet won the UFC interim lightweight title, fought for the undisputed title, or scored two victories over Conor McGregor.
Poirier’s record is impressive, even without Diaz’s name on it. But he’s still irked by the circumstances that led to the cancellation of their fight. He’s particularly annoyed by lingering misconceptions about who was to blame.
“I wish it had happened,” Poirier says. “But I really want the UFC or Nate to be honest about why that fight fell apart. Everyone still thinks I pulled out and all that.”
Poirier did withdraw from the UFC 230 event. But he insists his decision came after Diaz was ruled out of the match.
When the news first broke, reports suggested Poirier had backed out and Diaz would fight someone else. Poirier felt like he’d been thrown under the bus.
“Diaz was playing games with the UFC,” Poirier claims. “They started offering me replacement opponents, telling me Diaz was off the card. I had a hip issue at the time. I let the UFC know.
“I would’ve fought if it was Diaz. If they used a replacement fighter, I was out. I’d push through training camp if it was Diaz, but I needed to get my hip issue sorted. When they started offering replacement opponents, I was like, ‘I’m not fighting these replacement guys.'”
Poirier believes Diaz was “playing hardball” with the UFC.
Perhaps Poirier learned a thing or two about negotiating with his promoter. Over five years later, when the UFC announced his fight with Saint Denis without a signed contract, Poirier publicly withdrew from the fight. The UFC quickly returned to the negotiating table, and the contract issue was resolved.
As for Diaz’s next move? That’s still up in the air. After securing his release from the UFC, he boxed Jake Paul last August, losing by unanimous decision.
There are rumors of a potential boxing match with former octagon opponent Jorge Masvidal. Diaz has also expressed interest in fighting at the landmark UFC 300 event. UFC CEO Dana White has said that the winner of The Ultimate Fighter 5 will always have a place in the octagon.
But will it be against Poirier? Last November, when a fan suggested the long-anticipated match could happen at the April 13 event, Poirier did what he always does in these situations: He stirred the pot.
“Nathaniel?” he tweeted at Diaz.
As usual, nothing came of it. At this point, Poirier seems to be making peace with that.