Dustin Poirier Doubts UFC San Diego Will Happen

Dustin Poirier is currently booked to fight Dan Hooker at UFC San Diego, but due to the coroavirus pandemic, the contender doesn't see the card taking place.

As the UFC scrambles to hold UFC 249, and to resume operations in the coming weeks, Dustin Poirier doesn’t believe he’ll be fighting on May 16th as scheduled. 

Poirier UFC 242
Image Credit: UFC / YouTube

Poirier says he can’t “properly” train

Poirier has yet to compete since he was submitted by champion Khabib Nurmagomedov in September. The rugged vet was recently booked to fight the surging contender Hooker, in the headliner of UFC San Diego. But, more recently, public gatherings have been temporarily banned in many places, including California, due to the coronavirus pandemic. In addition, many governments have also enacted restrictions on travel.

So, while talking with ESPN’s Ariel Helwani this week, Poirier was asked if see the upcoming bout taking place, considering the situation (quotes via MMA Fighting).

“I don’t think so. I really don’t,” Poirier said. “I don’t have that feeling. Honestly, there’s no way to properly prepare. I can’t get inside – I have my own personal gym here in Louisiana, I can hit the bags and I have another buddy, two buddies who I train with there, who are social distancing themselves as well so I trust that they are not bringing the fungus among-us in our gym, but other than that, I’m there hitting the bags and rolling with those guys or I’m at my house. So I can’t really – I can jog and stuff, I can get in shape, but to be fine-tuned for a fight at the highest level, I can’t do it.

“I don’t know what my opponent is doing, as well. I don’t know if he’s not being able to train. So May seems like a push, but we’ll see.”

“..They’re telling me to prepare. . . That’s the only info I do know. They told me if May 16 goes through, it’s going to be in a different U.S. city.”

Considering the restrictions in California right now, and that Hooker would need to travel from New Zealand, it certainly doesn’t look like that bout’s going to happen. Not anytime soon anyway.

Poirier is willing to fight Tony Ferguson at UFC 249

Although Poirier’s having trouble training for May 16th, the contender would step-up and fight Tony Ferguson at UFC 249 (if that card happens either). Ferguson’s initial opponent, champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, is stranded in Russia as a result of a travel ban.

“In the midst of what was happening yesterday, an opportunity like that, I’m of course, 100 percent jumping on,” Poirier said. “No disrespect to Dan Hooker, but guys like him are going to be around. Opportunities like that are going to be there always, for the rest of my career, to fight up-and-coming good guys who are on a streak, fun match-ups. That’s always gonna be around. I just want to be 100 percent prepared, that’s all. I like the fight, and I’m down with the fight, but I just want to be prepared.”

Debate about whether the UFC should be holding any event right now aside, you can understand why Poirier feels this way. If he were to beat Ferguson, his path to another title fight would be dramatically shortened. 

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