Fight fans were nearly blessed with a Nate Diaz vs. Dustin Poirier fight at UFC 279 following Khamzat Chimaev’s disastrous weight cut, but the MMA gods decided to grant us Diaz vs. Tony Ferguson instead.
Last month, the MMA world was thrown for a loop when Chimaev drastically missed weight for his main event clash with Diaz at UFC 279. The promotion scrambled and tried to figure out the best fix for Diaz’s final Octagon appearance (for now). Rumors began to swirl and eventually it was revealed that Poirier was offered to step in on short notice and fight Diaz.
Poirier, who was last seen in a submission loss to Charles Oliveira at UFC 269 back in Dec. 2021, quickly accepted the matchup with little more than 24 hours to fly to Las Vegas and fight one of the most iconic names in the sport today. However, UFC officials eventually decided to slot Ferguson in against Diaz and no longer needed “Diamond” to step in.
While Diaz vs. Ferguson turned out to be a memorable clash of lightweight veterans, fight fans are still kicking themselves over a missed opportunity see Diaz and “Diamond” finally square off. Remember, the two were scheduled to meet all the way back in 2018, but Poirier was forced out of the bout due to injury.
Poirier recently discussed the moments leading up to his short-notice offer to fight Diaz at UFC 279 and how everything played out.
“It [phone call with UFC] was good. It was surprising,” Poirier told Heavy Sports. “My coach Mike Brown just flew into Louisiana the night before, and it was his birthday. So, I ate some pasta, so I was a little bit heavy the morning they called. Then they offered me the fight and I accepted it. They had to go through hurdles with the athletic commission to try to make this thing happen, for me to fly over same day.”
“Luckily for me, I have some friends who have the ability to — and pilots — get me to Vegas on very short-notice time, so I had that set up. Everything was good to go. But I think it ultimately came down to the athletic commission,” Poirier continued. “Tony had already weighed in and they wanted to go that way instead. But I did accept, and I did speak to the UFC, and they were very thankful.”
Poirier, 33, is currently scheduled to fight growing rival Michael Chandler at UFC 281 this November at Madison Square Garden. It is one of the most anticipated matchups of 2022 and a fight that could instantly put Poirier back in title contention at 155 pounds.