What exactly led to the beef between Dustin Poirier and Michael Chandler?
Former UFC light heavyweight and heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier tried to get an answer on a recent edition of the ‘DC & RC’ show on ESPN, where he spoke with both men in a joint interview ahead of their much-anticipated fight.
Poirier told Cormier his aversion to Chandler stems from how his opponent switches up his personality when in front of a microphone.
“If you ask anyone who knows me or anyone who has heard me speak about Mike, I’ve been watching the guy fight for a long time,” said Poirier. “He’s fought a lot of great guys. I’ve always had praise for him. He’s done some great things, but the whole thing with me — and it’s not like I’m going into this fight with a personal vendetta for the guy. But this is just it. The way he answered that question. It is not who he was a few interviews ago with Ariel Helwani or it’s not who he was when the mic’s in front of him in the Octagon.
“He was a different guy whenever we sat next to each other in Abu Dhabi and spoke,” continued Poirier. “That’s what it is.”
Chandler responded, explaining that his comments were after Poirier started hinting at either a move from lightweight to welterweight or retirement, options that would effectively rule out a fight with him anyway.
‘Iron’ also shared his side of the run-in in Abu Dhabi, where it started off respectful but turned disrespectful after the ‘Diamond’ rejected a potential fight to go and sell his hot sauce.
“The guy that talked to you in Abu Dhabi, in the stands – you and I in the stands – before weigh-ins, we had all of that,” said Chandler. “And then that Dustin Poirier went on record, on the microphone after the fight [against former two-division champion Conor McGregor at UFC 257] and said, ‘If the UFC wants me to fight Michael Chandler, I’d just as soon go sell hot sauce’. So you want to have a ton of praise for me, but then also you would rather sell hot sauce than fight me.”
Despite their previous exchanges in person and online, Poirier and Chandler squashed their beef, agreeing they do not hate each other. Cormier expressed doubt over their ‘kumbaya,’ especially since they were seen being separated from each other at UFC 276 a few months ago. Both men downplayed the exchange and shifted focus to their upcoming fight at UFC 281, where they will settle their differences once and for all.
UFC 281 goes down on Sat., Nov. 12, at the Madison Square Garden in New York City.