Daniel Cormier calls for Justin Gaethje to face Dustin Poirier for vacant UFC lightweight belt in snub to Conor McGregor

DANIEL CORMIER has called for Justin Gaethje and Dustin Poirier to fight for the vacant UFC lightweight belt – in a snub to Conor McGregor.

The title is up for grabs after Cormier's close friend and ex-training partner Khabib Nurmagomedov retired following victory over Gaethje.

To complicate matters, McGregor, 32, and Poirier, 31, are close to agreeing a deal to headline on January 23.

But DC wants the UFC to instead put Poirier into a rematch with Gaethje.

Both fighters held the interim lightweight title before losing to the unstoppable Khabib.

It comes amid doubts over McGregor's return, after he retired in June having fought just once since his own defeat against Nurmagomedov in 2018.

Cormier told ESPN: "The reality is, I don't know how often Conor is going to fight.

"If this is the Conor McGregor from back then who fought anytime, anywhere, sure, put him in a title fight right now.

"Because he'll be around, he'll be fighting, he'll be defending it."

He continued: "You cannot cut out Justin Gaethje, man.

"If both of these dudes had titles (Gaethje and Poirier) if they were both interim champions, let them fight for the belt.

"That's what I feel like. You are the last two guys to hold a portion of that title outside Khabib Nurmagomedov, let's see which of you two can carry the full crown."


Gaethje, 31, won the interim lightweight belt in May after beating Tony Ferguson, 36, but would be submitted by Khabib, 32, in their unification bout.

Poirier also took the interim title into his shot at Nurmagomedov last year, but similarly tapped out to the unbeaten Russian.

Gaethje wants to fight for the belt immediately and called out McGregor, with the Irishman yet to officially announce a fight with Poirier.

He said: “Poirier and McGregor are gonna fight, they haven’t made it official, so if McGregor wants to bounce out and get the belt, I’m right here.

“If they want to give it to someone else then so be it, but I’ll be ready to fight again.

"This is my job, this is my life and I love it so much.”

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