In the world of Ultimate Fighting Championship, Alexander Volkanovski shone when he stepped up on short notice to face Islam Makhachev for the coveted lightweight title at UFC 294. However, it appears that he wasn’t the only contender keen on seizing this opportunity.
The sporting promotion was hurled into a situation of flux when Charles Oliveira, Makhachev’s original opponent, had to back out due to sustaining a grievous cut while sparring on October 10, leaving only 11 days before the scheduled fight. Immediately after, featherweight champion Volkanovski was declared Oliveira’s replacement. In the meantime, however, UFC is said to have explored its options. Former interim lightweight champion Dustin Poirier (29-8) alleges that he had been contacted by UFC Chief Business Officer Hunter Campbell, who asked if he could make weight on short notice. Poirier recalls enthusiastically agreeing to this despite not receiving any guarantees from Campbell. Poirier, however, never recieved a call back and suspects the promotion was simply waiting for Volkanovski to confirm his participation.
Poirier recently told MMA Fighting about the exchange. “So, I answer the phone, let’s go. I said, ‘What perfect timing. This is how life works.’ I just landed in Florida. My whole team is here, my coaches are in town, this happened for a reason. He asked me my weight, and I [told him I] can make the weight in 11 days, no problem. I thought that was it. He told me [to] give him one day.” After not hearing pack, a puzzled Poirier claimed, “Then he kept quiet for a while, and then all the news started breaking. But he didn’t tell me, ‘Hey, you’re the guy.’ He asked me if I would do it. I said yes, he told me to give him one day, and I guess he was waiting on Alexander to commit.”
Currently ranked No. 3 in the lightweight division, Poirier last fought in July where he experienced a Round 2 knockout loss against Justin Gaethje at UFC 291. The two fighters were vying for the BMF Belt at the time. The 34-year-old sportsperson has a record of 1-2 in his last three fights, which include a failed title bid against Oliveira. He did, however, score a submission win over Michael Chandler in an instant classic last November at UFC 281.