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Dustin Poirier explains why he’s picking Jake Paul to beat Nate Diaz

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Dustin Poirier and Nate Diaz have quite a history.

The two longtime veterans circled each other for ages prior to Diaz’s UFC exit, including a scheduled 2018 collision at UFC 230 that was cancelled due to a Poirier injury. Poirier and Diaz repeatedly clashed on social media and called one another out in the years after their failed bout, however they ultimately never secured a chance to settle their rivalry before Diaz departed the organization in late 2022 in search of new opportunities.

Diaz is now set to make his first post-UFC appearance in a big-money boxing match against Jake Paul on August 5 in Dallas, and “The Diamond” is happy to see his success.

“Of course, I always wanted to fight him,” Poirier said recently on The MMA Hour.

“Look, I want everybody to be paid and to succeed. Whether it’s in this organization or that, I don’t care, we’re putting it all on the line out there. So I hope he got whatever he was looking for. I hope it all works out. I hope he gets paid.”

Poirier, 34, lobbied hard throughout 2021-22 to be Diaz’s final opponent once the Stockton native made it clear he wanted to fight out his UFC contract. That honor ultimately went to Tony Ferguson, who Diaz dispatched via submission to saunter into free agency off a win after a last-second card reshuffling caused by Khamzat Chimaev’s weight miss at UFC 279,

Diaz and the UFC parted ways on fairly amicable terms, however, and both sides have refused to close the door about working together again in the future.

Nonetheless, Poirier isn’t holding his breath for the Diaz fight to ever come around again.

“Never say never,” Poirier said, “but it looks like it’s gone.”

Poirier admitted he’s “definitely” interested in seeing how Diaz vs. Paul shakes out, though.

Diaz’s professional boxing debut is set to take place exactly one week after Poirier’s July 29 rematch against Justin Gaethje at UFC 291, so Poirier hopes to be healthy enough to make the six-hour drive from his Louisiana home to Dallas’ American Airlines Center to watch the action live. And when it comes to a prediction, he’s favoring Paul to pull off the win.

“Man, Jake’s younger, bigger, faster — it’s not an easy fight,” Poirier said. “Just because Nate’s a grizzled veteran with the right experience, and Jake’s a new guy who’s on YouTube — he’s got the money and the amenities to surround himself with the best people and dedicate himself to fighting, and he’s younger and more explosive. And I think Diaz’s boxing is good for MMA — it’s a completely different thing. It’s a completely different thing.”

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