Dustin Poirier-Tony Ferguson UFC 254 Matchup Fizzles After Failed Negotiations

By: Jay Pettry
Sep 10, 2020

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The Ultimate Fighting Championship lost a fight that was never officially announced but fans strongly desired.

On Thursday, ESPN reported that the speculated lightweight affair between Dustin Poirier (26-6, 1 NC) and Tony Ferguson (25-4) will not be going down on UFC 254 like some had hoped. Although never on the books, UFC President Dana White hinted at the pairing, while admitting at the time that agreements were not yet in place. The match was considered to be held on Oct. 24 on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, at the end of a five-card stretch at the Flash Forum.

According to Poirier, he will be returning to his home in Louisiana and halting his training camp because the negotiations were unsuccessful. The fighters and the UFC could not agree to terms, and Ferguson had not signed to the bout either. It is uncertain if the promotion will simply try to reschedule it for a later date or cancel it outright and make new bouts for each man.

“UFC and I didn’t come to terms,” said Poirier to ESPN. “I will not be fighting on Oct. 24. I just need to be compensated if they want this fight…simple as that. I’m a prize fighter and the prize needs to be right.”

ESPN also noted that while this was a landmark fight, it had multiple stipulations depending on certain unforeseen results. For example, as the Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Justin Gaethje lightweight title unification match is set as the UFC 254 headliner, either Poirier or Ferguson would be tapped as a replacement depending on who withdrew. If Gaethje were forced to step out, Ferguson would fight Nurmagomedov; on the other hand, Poirier would replace a withdrawing Nurmagomedov to take on Gaethje once again.

Poirier last competed in June in a five-round battle with Dan Hooker, where he took a spirited decision and the two pocketed a “Fight of the Night” bonus for their efforts. The FOTN honor Poirier’s seventh as a UFC fighter, the only man at the time with more was Nate Diaz. In his last eight outings, “The Diamond” has taken home six post-fight bonuses. His win over Hooker put him on the right side of the win column after a championship defeat to Khabib Nurmagomedov. The loss to the Russian champ snapped a tremendous four-fight win streak where he beat Max Holloway, Eddie Alvarez, Gaethje and Anthony Pettis.

Ferguson’s massive 12-fight win streak came to a screeching halt at the hands of Gaethje in May for the interim strap. Not to be outdone by Poirier, “El Cucuy” has earned post-fight bonus money in eight of his last nine matches, while racking up nine bonuses along the way. His win streak included names like Donald Cerrone, Pettis, Kevin Lee and Rafael dos Anjos to name a few.

UFC 254 takes place on Yas Island on Oct. 24, with a top billing of Nurmagomedov vs. Gaethje. The expected co-main event is a heavyweight rumble between Alexander Volkov and Walt Harris. Also scheduled for the evening is a middleweight scrap between Robert Whittaker and Jared Cannonier, while Magomed Ankalaev has been re-booked to face Ion Cutelaba on the card as well.

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