With Khabib Nurmagomedov suspended until late in the year the UFC have made a major move to keep the division moving by giving featherweight champion Max Holloway a chance to step up and fight for the interim lightweight title against Dustin Poirier at UFC 236 on April 13th in Atlanta.
The fighter conspicious by his absence in this arrangement is Tony Ferguson, who is the current No.1 contender in the division after a remarkable 11-fight winning streak.
However, Dana White has revealed that Ferguson was initially offered the fight with Holloway, but opted to turn it down.
That hands the No.3 ranked contender Poirier a golden opportunity to fight for the belt after an 8-1 (+1nc) run in the lightweight division over the past few years, including a current three-fight winning streak thats seen him TKO Anthony Pettis, Justin Gaethje and Eddie Alvarez.
Now he’ll be facing the dominant champion in the division he once used to fight in, and indeed Poirier actually does have a previous submission victory over Holloway dating back to February of 2013.
‘Blessed’ has developed into one of the sport’s pound-for-pound best fighters since then though and is currently on a 13-fight undefeated run that’s seen him defeat a who’s who of the division, including Jose Aldo (twice), Brian Ortega, Anthony Pettis, Jeremy Stephens, Charles Oliveira and Cub Swanson to name but a few.
Holloway Vs Poirier is expected to headline a UFC 236 card that will also feature a fight between Israel Adesanya and Kelvin Gastelum.