If Tony Ferguson needs a new opponent, a former interim lightweight champion is ready to accept the challenge.
With reigning lightweight king Khabib Nurmagomedov stuck in Russia due to a nationwide travel ban because of the coronavirus pandemic, the UFC is scrambling to find a worthwhile replacement if he’s unable to compete.
Lightweight contender Justin Gaethje has already been tapped as a potential alternative to face Ferguson on short notice but the last man to beat him is also interested in the fight.
Dustin Poirier told MMA Fighting on Monday that he was more than willing to take the fight with Ferguson on April 18. He’s already pitched the idea to the matchmakers but at this time no decisions regarding the UFC 249 main event have been made.
Poirier had just recently traveled home to Louisiana due to the coronavirus outbreak after he was expected to start his training camp for a possible fight against Dan Hooker at the UFC San Diego show on May 16. Just after returning home, Poirier told MMA Fighting that he was still training to get ready to fight but he wanted to be closer to his family during the ongoing pandemic.
“I’m still going to eat clean and run in the mornings,” Poirier said. “I’m about to train here in Louisiana with my buddies. I’m good to go. That’s not really a priority as of right now. I’m just kind of waiting it out, day by day, to see what happens.”
After falling to Nurmagomedov last September, Poirier underwent hip surgery to repair some existing damage that had been plaguing him. He was cleared to return to action earlier this year and Poirier has been champing at the bit to book another fight.
Now he’s offering to take Nurmagomedov’s slot in the main event at UFC 249, but it remains to be seen what the promotion will decide to do while attempting to save the event.