06 Nov - 
Dustin Poirier nearly cleared and wants 'a big fight,' even if it's not Nate Diaz

Dustin Poirier has nearly returned to full health and is hopeful for a marquee lightweight fight in the first quarter of 2019.

Several weeks prior to a scheduled fight against Nate Diaz (19-11 MMA, 14-11 UFC) at UFC 230 this past weekend, Poirier (24-5 MMA, 16-4 UFC) was forced to withdraw from the card due to a lingering hip injury. He feared surgery would be required to repair the damage, but after seeing multiple doctors found alternative options for his recovery.

Although “The Diamond” is still a few weeks away from being able to train at 100 percent, Poirier said things are on-track with his rehab and it won’t be long before he can begin to prepare for his next fight.

“There’s going to be some more stuff to go through, but I’m cleared to start a camp here in the next few weeks, I’m sure,” Poirier told MMAjunkie Radio. “I spoke to the doctor a couple days ago, he called just as a checkup and he said most of the time you see huge improvements like six-to-eight weeks out from stem cell injections and my body has taken to it real good already. I’m excited to see the six-week mark how good I’m going to be feeling.”

UFC 230 was the first time in Poirier’s career that he pulled out of a fight due to injury. He had concerns about whether the fight with Diaz would actually come to fruition anyway and has already opened up about the behind-the-scenes challenges he dealt with before it all fell apart.

Poirier, No. 3 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA lightweight rankings, said he would be willing to reschedule against Diaz, but UFC President Dana White made it very clear following this past weekend’s UFC 230 post-fight news conference that he has no interest in booking Diaz against Poirier or anyone else on the roster.

That’s not a big disappointment to Poirier, 29, though, he said, because at this point is goals are greater than an individual opponent.

“I just want to do whatever I have to do to get the title shot, whatever I need to do to,” Poirier said. “That’s been my goal this whole time, but we’ll see. I haven’t spoke to the UFC about that’s next. I was seeing some stuff they were saying that they don’t want to try to rebook the Nate fight. I don’t know what’s going to happen. But I’ll be ready to roll probably the end of January, early February, I’ll be ready to roll.”

With just one loss in his past 10 fights, Poirier said he feels he’s already ready to fight for the 155-pound belt. He admits No. 2-ranked Tony Ferguson (24-3 MMA, 14-1 UFC) is likely ahead of him in line to challenge current champ No. 1-ranked Khabib Nurmagomedov (27-0 MMA, 11-0 UFC), though, so at this point he just wants an opponent who will catapult him into a matchup with the winner of the potential matchup.

“When I talk to them I’m going to say, ‘I want a title shot,'” Poirier said. “But at the end of the day they make the offer and I have to choose what’s next. But I agree, Tony is next in line. We’ll see how all this shakes out. I just want a big fight, somebody at the top, and I want to be world champion.”

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