Eddie Alvarez (29-5-0, 1NC) may have unwittingly cost himself a chance to regain the UFC lightweight championship a couple weeks ago. According to Dustin Poirier (23-5-0, 1NC), Alvarez turned down a possible rematch five times including at UFC 223. Poirier said he was offered a bout with Alvarez at UFC 223, with the idea both fighters would also be on standby in case there was a fallout in the original main event of Tony Ferguson (23-3-0) vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov (26-0-0).
Poirier accepted this rematch, and says that Alvarez declined. This means he very well might have cost himself a chance to step in when Ferguson had to pull out with a knee injury a week before the card.
Me and Eddie were offered a rematch on that Brooklyn show that Tony and Khabib were on. And my management told me that pretty much they’re probably trying to book this fight because if they fall out, one of you are going to replace them. I accepted the fight. Eddie turned it down. This was months ago. We could have been on that card, Eddie’s ranked higher than me, he probably would have fought for the belt a couple weekends ago.
According to Poirier, this wasn’t the first time he was offered the bout, which would mark a rematch of their no-contest bout at UFC 221. Poirier was hit with an illegal knee to the head and could not continue, for which Alvarez was not disqualified. There’s clearly ill will left over from the aftermath of the first fight.
It was offered a bunch of times, man. There were a bunch of cards that they offered the fight on. I accepted every time they offered it, Eddie turned it down every time. I think it was five times. The things that he said after our fight, just the way he acted, I tried to stand up for the man and tell the crowd stop booing him not a dirty fighter, have some respect for the man. Just way he acted after that. Saying that I was trying to milk the knee, he tweeted me “are you finally off your stool yet” just all kinds of stuff like that that was very disrespectful. This isn’t a bar fight. You don’t knee somebody in the head and expect the guy to just keep going like it didn’t hurt. He got me pretty good with that knee, and it could have changed the outcome of fight. This is a sport. There has to be some line drawn. If I do not get the title shot next, it’s going to be Eddie
This might explain why Poirier called out new lightweight champion Nurmagomedov and blew off the idea of an Alvarez rematch during his recent in-cage interview. But while Poirier believes he’s surpassed Alvarez in the rankings, he’s not going to say no to a rematch if a title shot isn’t yet in the cards.