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Dustin Poirier rejects UFC title shot in favour of Conor McGregor trilogy fight

Dustin Poirier turned down a UFC title shot in favour of pursuing a more lucrative trilogy fight with Conor McGregor.

Poirier’s second-round stoppage of McGregor in January solidified his position as the leading lightweight contender.

And when champion Khabib Nurmagomedov relinquished his title last week, Poirier was first in line to fight for the vacant belt.

But he has decided to step aside and instead Charles Oliveira and Michael Chandler will clash for the belt on May 15.

“Poirier was offered the fight but he wanted the Conor rematch, which makes sense,” UFC president Dana White told TSN.

“Oliveira just came off an incredible win over Tony Ferguson and looked completely dominant against a guy people thought was the best match-up for Khabib.

Dustin Poirier kicked his way to victory over Conor McGregor in January

“And Chandler came in there like a tornado and looked damn good in his last fight so it’s a fight that makes sense.”

In beating McGregor earlier this year, Poirier avenged his 2014 defeat by the Irishman in which he was stopped in the first round.

With Nurmagomedov’s future unclear at that stage, both men made it clear they favoured a rematch.

It was hoped terms would be agreed to stage the fight at UFC 262 in May but the trilogy has now been pencilled in for UFC 264 on July 10.

McGregor’s second defeat in three UFC bouts also cost him a money-spinning fight with boxing legend Manny Pacquiao.

And his coach John Kavanagh admitted last month that the Dubliner had become “obsessed” with the sweet science.

“I describe it as a game of spinning plates,” Kavanagh told BT Sport. “You’re spinning the boxing plate and you realize the wrestling plate is about to stop, so you have to go spin that one, and then you have to go spin the jiu-jitsu one, you have to spin the kickboxing one.

“We got a bit obsessed with the boxing one. There was talk of a big boxing fight after that. Our bad, our mistake, our fault – no one to blame.

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“We just have to make sure we have to keep spinning that kickboxing plate and all the other aspects of MMA and get ready for the rematch.

“We have to fix that technical detail; it’s not like we have to fix everything. It’s just a small enough area, get that back into the whole game.

“The knock on him was the boxing mentality going into an MMA mentality. Conor was always famous for his movement, his ability to change stances, his bounce as he would say, and we need to bring that all back.

“It’s there; it’s under the hood. It’s not like the skills need to be learned or even relearned. They just have to be reignited and we have to start that process.”




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