Dustin Poirier’s daughter has wholesome message after retiring without undisputed belt

Dustin Poirier looks for a way forward after his third failed attempt at undisputed lightweight gold. He is reminded of the time he tasted the UFC 'interim' gold instead.

Dustin Poirier’s daughter has wholesome message after retiring without undisputed belt

Dustin Poirier with Parker Noelle Poirier after UFC 302 (Source: IMAGO/Instagram)

Dustin Poirier isn’t probably retiring just yet, but he’s leaning heavily to that thought. Clearing out a third bid and third title-fight loss to Islam Makhachev at UFC 302 this month, he clarified the notion. The days of active participation for ‘Diamond’ are nearing an end. So, that means he won’t have any more chances to snag the undisputed gold. However, he finds solace in wise advice — from his daughter.

He told close friend Ariel Helwani (MMAFighting on SBN) that his daughter, Parker Noelle Poirier, would attend her first fight. Hence, she was ringside when the Dagestani ended it with a D’Arce choke at the 2:42 mark of R5. Far removed from another title shot anytime soon, the lightweight veteran heeds Parker’s advice.

I’m kind of looking for clarity. Searching myself and taking it one day at a time. But I don’t know. I don’t know what’s next...My daughter keeps telling me 'It's okay dad, some people don't have any belts...Some people don't have any. You have one [the interim] right here...'I do'...I do. And I hold that belt high...
Dustin Poirier via The MMA Hour (for MMAFighting on SBN)

It’s not surprising, given how much stock he puts into the advice from the women in his life. Poirier (30-8 MMA, 22-7 UFC) made it clear that there’s not much path forward, entering and coming out of his title-fight loss. At 35 years old, he isn’t looking forward to doing it all over again. He had said as much to ‘The Fight Bananas Show LIVE’ co-host Elle Dawson way back before the fight rolled in.

However, as little Parker aptly puts it, Poirier already had an interim belt to his name. Moreover, if meritocracy is the limit, Poirier is far more accomplished than most in the 155-pound division. UFC 302 was his 7th PPV headliner, a good mark for a non-title holder. Moving forward, his legacy would define him more than a legacy belt.

UFC interim champions who failed to unify undisputed gold: A thread

There have been many industry stalwarts who never even held the undisputed title. Chael SonnenDan HendersonUrijah Faber, and Donald Cerrone are some such standouts, as is Dustin Poirier. Moreover, others have never gotten on to become champions despite being oh-so-close to the occasion.

Dustin Poirier and others have topped the interim title belt
Dustin Poirier and others have topped the interim title belt (Source: Instagram/express.co.uk/X)

The UFC interim belt crowns a champion when the resident, the prodigal titleholder, is absent. The goal is to unify said strap with the resident one. Here’s a list of those who have failed to do so:

Top dog Ciryl Gane was the go-to name in the 265-pound class in 2021. He had defeated Derrick Lewis via third-round TKO to win his heavyweight strap. This set up a blockbuster unification bout with prodigal beast Francis Ngannou, but he lost to the former teammate’s wrestle-heavy game at UFC 270.

In 2018, ‘Chaos’ was sky-high, winning the interim welterweight title against Rafael dos Anjos. However, Colby Covington forfeited the chance due to an impending nasal surgery. He remains a rare case and did not receive a chance at unification later. However, he received three separate shots at the title and never won it.

Much like the ex-ATT wrestler, Tony Ferguson never unified his gold. His failed matchup with lightweight legend Khabib Nurmagomedov is one of the poster instances of missed opportunities. ‘El Cucuy’ later tore his LCL and was stripped of the title.

Then there’s Dustin Poirier. He won it in an interim lightweight title bout at UFC 236 against then-featherweight king Max Holloway. His unification bout loss came at the hands of Islam Makhachev’s mentor, Khabib. Like Covington, he also received three separate title shots and never captured the title.

In case you missed it: