Dustin Poirier: Conor McGregor Should Get First Shot at the Title If He Returns

Dustin Poirier would love to get a shot at the title with a win over Justin Gaethje this weekend but even he admits that Conor McGregor should probably be the next guy in line

A lot has changed in the lightweight division ahead of Dustin Poirier’s main event showdown with Justin Gaethje this weekend.

Last Saturday night, Khabib Nurmagomedov was crowned undisputed champion after defeating late notice replacement Al Iaquinta while both Conor McGregor and Tony Ferguson were stripped of their lightweight titles.

While Nurmagomedov may be cemented as champion, his legitimacy as the best lightweight in the world still comes under question considering he didn’t have to go through McGregor or Ferguson to get there. Still, Nurmagomedov is the only UFC lightweight champion and now the question remains who gets the first shot at him?

An argument could easily be made for Ferguson as a former interim champion, who is currently riding a 10 fight win streak with key wins over Rafael dos Anjos, Edson Barboza and Kevin Lee.

While no one could have predicted how things played out this past weekend at UFC 223, Poirier says ultimately the title shot still belongs to McGregor if he wants it because like him or not, he was still the champion after knocking out Eddie Alvarez back in 2016.

“He is the champion. They’re taking his belt for inactivity. When he comes back, if he decides to [come back], I think he should get the first shot at it,” Poirier said about McGregor ahead of his fight against Gaethje.

Now that might not be a popular opinion amongst some fans and Poirier gave that answer before McGregor went on a tirade through the Barclays Center that ended with him in jail on assault and criminal mischief charges.

All that aside when it just comes down to fighting, McGregor never lost his title inside the cage. He may have been focused on a boxing match with Floyd Mayweather and then locked in contract negotiations with the UFC over his next fight, but McGregor never legitimately lost the belt and that has to play a part in who gets the next shot at Nurmagomedov.

“He didn’t lose the belt,” Poirier said about McGregor. “It’s one thing when we talk about rematches and stuff but if the guy wants to go off and do some other stuff, but the guy hasn’t been beat in the UFC at 155 pounds. Of course I don’t want it to happen but I think it would be the right thing to happen.

“Of course I want to get my shot at the title but I think that would be the fair thing to do.”

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Damon Martin is a veteran mixed martial arts journalist who has been covering the industry since 2003 with bylines on FOX Sports, CNN, Bleacher Report and numerous other outlets.
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