The lightweight division is one of the deepest and most exciting divisions in the entire UFC, with names like Justin Gaethje, Dustin Poirier, Michael Chandler, Charles Oliveira, Islam Makhachev, Conor McGregor and Arman Tsarukyan being just a few of the big names at the top (or formerly at the top) of the rankings.
After Arman Tsarukyan (21-3 MMA, 8-2 UFC) scored a knockout win against the highly-regarded, top ten lightweight Beneil Dariush at EPSN 52, he called for a title shot against current LW champ Islam Makhachev, the latter of whom is slated to fight Charles Oliveira in a rematch next. While Tsarukyan’s impressive against Dariush was certainly impressive, UFC Hall of Famer and current commentator Daniel Cormier thinks that there is one big name near the top of the division that Tsarukyan needs to go through first to claim his shot at the championship: Dustin Poirier.
“What I think should happen, I don’t know if it will happen, is if Islam fights sometime in the first quarter of the year, you put Tsarukyan on UFC 300 against Dustin Poirier,” Cormier said on his ESPN show “DC & RC.”
“Because Dustin said he wants to fight at that point,” Cormier continued. “You know that UFC 300 is somewhere around April, you put him on UFC 300, and then maybe, maybe he comes back at the end of the year for that third fight that Makhachev said he wants. Now, you’ve got a guy that just beat one of the biggest names if he can get past Poirier.”
Cormier believes that if Tsarukyan can’t get past Poirier, that Dustin “Diamond” has secured another shot at the UFC Lightweight title after Justin Gaethje. Poirier (29-8 MMA, 21-7 UFC) is coming off of a knockout loss to Gaethje at UFC 291.
“If he doesn’t, Dustin Poirier has now laid claim to the title shot after Justin Gaethje. So, it really does bring some stability to this weight class. As often as we see guys today say stuff like, ‘I’ll wait. I’ll wait a year if I have to. I don’t care.’ Arman Tsarukyan said, ‘If it’s not the next fight, I’ll fight somebody else, and if it’s not after that, OK, I’ll fight somebody else again.’ He doesn’t care. He will fight over and over and over until he’s undeniable, and he has to get the championship opportunity.”
Poirier has been vocal in the past about fights that excite him and Cormier believes that a matchup against the rising star Tsarukyan would be just that — and one Poirier wouldn’t shy away from.
“Dustin Poirier is from Lafayette, Dustin Poirier ain’t scared of nothing, and Dustin Poirier is just a flat-out dog,” Cormier explained. “So, if they give him that fight, he’ll take it. He’s a dog. Dustin Poirier is an absolute dog, so he’ll take the fight, and I think that will be a tremendous addition to UFC 300.”
Do you think Dustin Poirier vs. Arman Tsarukyan at UFC 300 is the next big matchup to make in the UFC Lightweight division? If not, who would you like to see either fighter face off against next? Let us know in the comments.