Dustin Poirier has some work to do at UFC 242 on Sept. 7 but if he’s able to defeat Khabib Nurmagomedov to become the undisputed lightweight champion, there is no doubt in his mind who should be next in line.
“100 percent it’s Tony Ferguson without a second guess,” Poirier told MMA Fighting on the UFC 242 media conference call on Tuesday. “Without any argument, it’s Tony Ferguson. No doubt.”
It’s impossible to argue with Poirier’s logic considering Ferguson is a former interim lightweight champion, who never actually lost his belt. Instead it was a freak injury in the leadup to his own fight against Nurmagomedov in 2018 that forced him to the sideline for surgery.
When he returned, Ferguson was matched up with Anthony Pettis rather than getting a shot at the title while Nurmagomedov was tied up in a fight against Conor McGregor on the same card.
Ferguson then defeated Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone in his most recent performance, which moved his winning streak to 12 overall. By that metric, it seems obvious that Ferguson should be the No. 1 contender for the title but stranger things have happened to prevent him from receiving that opportunity before.
McGregor has also injected himself in the conversation recently after proclaiming that he hopes to return before the end of the year and he’s made no secret of his desire to reclaim the UFC lightweight title.
For Poirier, there is no debate.
He believes Ferguson should face the winner of the UFC 242 main event but he can’t put too much thought into that right now with a 27-0 undefeated Russian standing in his way next weekend.
“Honestly I don’t think about that type of stuff because 25 minutes with Khabib is all I can focus on right now,” Poirier stated. “I can’t disrespect the work that needs to be done Sept. 7.”