Islam Makhachev eyes ‘legend’ Dustin Poirier for June, even if ‘Dustin doesn’t deserve the title fight’

Islam Makhachev wants to fight in June, and if recent winner Dustin Poirier is the only option, that’s just fine with him.

The UFC lightweight champion is hoping to defend his title in June, but with the other top contenders currently booked at UFC 300, Poirier has timing on his side following his second-round knockout win over Benoit Saint Denis this past Saturday at UFC 299. Speaking with MMA Junkie, Makhachev agrees that while Poirier may not be the meritocratic choice to fight for the title, availability might just be Poirier’s best friend.

“I know Dustin does not deserve the title fight but we don’t have any option right now,” Makhachev said. “Everybody [is] busy, but I want to fight, you know. I want to fight three times in the year, that’s why I just have to call out someone, and Poirier is free now.

“He showed [an] excellent performance and scored a beautiful knockout, that’s why [I want that fight], he’s free now, he’s healthy and I ask him to fight in June, maybe.”

While current-day merit isn’t always at the forefront of the UFC’s matchmaking, Makhachev — who has had two successful defenses of his title against former featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski — believes Poirier’s overall career résumé would make for a great name to add to his.

“He beat a lot of top guys, he’s a legend,” Makhachev explained. “And a fight with him is going to be good for me for the history, for everything, you know. He’s a legend, he beat a lot of top guys, and he’s a tough opponent, too. He have a good guillotine.”

Poirier said on The MMA Hour earlier this week that he took “no damage” in his victory over Saint Denis, and that June would be perfect for him as far as timeline goes. With Justin Gaethje and Max Holloway set to battle at UFC 300, along with former champ Charles Oliveira and surging contender Arman Tsarukyan fighting on the same card, Makhachev just doesn’t think there will be any other option besides “The Diamond.”

“I think no one will be ready,” Makhachev said of the other booked lightweights. “But maybe someone will be ready, but, you know, I have to fight. I don’t care. And I’m healthy now, I’m training every day, and I need someone.”

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