Heading into his fight against Charles Oliveira with the lightweight title on the line, the 32-year-old from Louisiana was absolutely convinced he would leave the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas as the new champion.
Despite his best effort, Poirier ultimately succumbed to Oliveira by third-round submission, which is now the second time he’s come up short in his bid to win the undisputed lightweight title.
“I’m just so much better than that, and everybody says that when they lose, but I know I am,” Poirier said when appearing on The MMA Hour on Wednesday. “Just sucks cause it’s one of those things. Maybe never get the opportunity again to call myself world champion, and to under-perform, I owed it to myself.
“This one was for me. It wasn’t for the money. It wasn’t for proving anything. It was for me and I f*cking fumbled. It hurts.”
There’s a part of Poirier that feels like he may never compete for lightweight gold again, and that’s at least partially due to his wavering commitment to fight at 155 pounds any longer.
While cutting down to lightweight isn’t exactly brutal on him, the 36-fight veteran admits it’s never going to get any easier.
“I don’t know if I’m going to make that cut again,” Poirier said. “I might never fight at 155 pounds again. I don’t know the future. I could have cut a few more pounds. I could have come in at 152 on this fight. My cut went so smooth, I felt great. Of course, that’s because I did all the things I was supposed to do in my training camp that made the cut so great.
“But I don’t know if I want to go through that training camp again where I’m hungry everyday and competing in the gym and pushing myself on the low calories. We’ll see, I don’t know. I don’t know what’s going to happen.”
Part of Poirier’s hesitation to commit to lightweight any longer is based on the long road he might have to travel in order to get back into title contention. Likely needing a few more wins, combined with continued weight cuts, might just force him to look at opportunities at welterweight.
“That’s kind of what nudged me over the edge to go to [155 pounds] when I was at 45,” Poirier explained. “I was close to a title shot and I lost to Conor [McGregor] in 2014, and I knew I would have to make that cut three, four, five more times or whatever it would be to get another title shot, and I just didn’t have it in me to do it.
“Here I am at 55, and I’m thinking if I’ve got to fight two or three more times to get a title shot, I don’t know if I want to live those training camps on low calories, pushing my body like that.”
Because he’s still absorbing the loss from this past Saturday night, Poirier openly admitted that it’s really difficult to even contemplate about what comes next because he’s just not in that head space yet.
While he said it’s “likely” he will fight again, the former interim lightweight champ isn’t going to just accept any opponent that gets thrown at him. In fact, at this exact moment, he can only pull one name out of the hat that would really get him excited to head back to the gym.
“When I’ve been laying down thinking about fights, nothing gets me excited — unless Nate Diaz wants to fight,” Poirier said. “If he wants to fight, that gets me excited.
“But all these other guys like even the new guys, and whoever it is, maybe a name will [get me excited] whenever I hear it, but nothing [right now].”
Poirier and Diaz were previously scheduled to clash back at UFC 230 back in 2018, but the fight fell apart in the weeks leading up to the event. In the aftermath, Diaz blamed Poirier for dropping out to deal with a hip injury that had been plaguing him for a large part of his career. Poirier countered by detailing how Diaz was never fully committed to the fight due to his contract situation with the UFC, which eventually led to him opting for hip surgery rather than waiting around to see if the bout actually came to fruition.
Now three years later, Poirier would still love the chance to settle some unfinished business with Diaz, who is currently on the last fight on his deal with the UFC.
“That would be great,” Poirier said about facing Diaz. “I don’t know what their plans are with the UFC. Leading up to my fight I was seeing a lot contractual stuff. I guess they were arguing and what not.”
Diaz had originally planned to compete one more time before 2021 was over, but he couldn’t come to terms with the UFC on an opponent after the promotion pitched him on a showdown with highly touted prospect Khamzat Chimaev.
Poirier is obviously interested in facing Diaz before his contract expires, but outside of that, it appears the UFC will have some work to do to find him worthy competition.
“I don’t even have a time frame [to fight again],” Poirier said. “Like I said, I’m healthy. If I do fight again, I just want to be excited again. Excited to fight.”