Poirier wants Gaethje to beat Khabib at UFC 253
UFC’s interim lightweight champion Dustin Poirier is looking out for his own best interest as he chases the UFC Lightweight Championship.
Speaking to TMZ Sports, Poirier revealed he's rooting for Justin Gaethje to win the title from Khabib Nurmagomedov because that will present him with an easier path to a championship bout.
"It's more of a guaranteed lock for me to fight for the belt if Justin wins," The Diamond said. "I'm the last guy to beat him. I'm the only guy still in the organization who beat him. So it would make a lot of sense. And I know he wants that fight as well."
Even though a match between Gaethje and Nurmagomedov hasn't been made official, UFC President Dana White told reporters in June that he anticipates a title unification bout between the two at some point this year.
Gaethje defeated Tony Ferguson at UFC 249 in May to win the interim lightweight championship. He has won four consecutive fights since a TKO loss to Poirier in April 2018.
Poirier also has a fight against Nurmagomedov under his belt, but The Eagle scored a third-round submission at UFC 242 in September to retain the title and run his career record to 28-0. Nurmagomedov revealed after the bout he was close to tapping out when Poirier locked him in a guillotine early in the third round.
Nurmagomedov's defense against Poirier was his most recent fight. He was scheduled to defend the belt against Ferguson at UFC 249 but was unable to travel from Russia because of coronavirus pandemic-related restrictions.
Poirier is 6-1 with one no-contest in his past eight fights.