While the matchup was never officially signed, the UFC had engaged in extensive talks with both fighters as the promotion looked to book them on the same card, which features a lightweight title fight reigning lightweight champ Khabib Nurmagomedov and Justin Gaethje in the main event.
According to people with knowledge of negotiations, who on Thursday spoke to MMA Fighting on the condition of anonymity, talks broke down with Poirier as he sought to reach a better financial agreement with the UFC to accept the fight with Ferguson. Once the two sides were unable to strike a deal, Poirier bowed out of negotiations and told ESPN that he plans to return home to Louisiana after just recently traveling to Florida to begin his training camp at American Top Team.
“UFC and I didn’t come to terms,” Poirier told ESPN. “I will not be fighting on Oct. 24.”
Sources initially told MMA Fighting earlier this week that Poirier had not come to terms with the UFC on an agreement for the fight, but he was still starting his training camp in hopes that they would be able to find middle ground during negotiations.
As for Ferguson, he has already agreed to the matchup and was in the midst of preparations to face Poirier on Oct. 24. It’s unknown if the UFC will attempt to keep Ferguson on the card and potentially book him against a different opponent instead.
With six weeks remaining until UFC 254 takes place, it’s possible Poirier could still strike a deal with the promotion. But it certainly appears that’s not likely if he’s planning to return home while shutting down the start of his training camp.
Poirier most recently fought in June, when he earned a unanimous decision victory over Dan Hooker in his return to action after falling to Nurmagomedov in a title unification bout in 2019.