Makhachev-Poirier title bout booked for June 1

Islam Makhachev will defend his lightweight championship against Dustin Poirier in the main event of UFC 302 on June 1 at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.

UFC president Dana White made the announcement following UFC 300 on Saturday night.

Makhachev, 32, is coming off a stunning knockout win over Alexander Volkanovski last October. The fight against Poirier will be Makhachev’s third defense of the lightweight title, which he won in 2022 by submitting Charles Oliveira.

There appeared to be a bit of a logjam at the top of the lightweight division with Justin Gaethje, Arman Tsarukyan, Charles Oliveira and Poirier all jockeying for position. But after UFC 300, there was a clearer picture of how things would shake out.

Tsarukyan squeezed out a split decision over Oliveira, and Gaethje was violently knocked out by former featherweight champion Max Holloway. Because of the nature of both of those fights, neither winner would be ready for Makhachev, who had stated he wanted to make a return early in the summer.

Makhachev was one of three fighters approached to compete at UFC 300 against welterweight champion Leon Edwards. He passed on the opportunity to become a two-division champion because of the inability to properly train while observing Ramadan.

Poirier, 35, will get a third crack at the lightweight championship. He failed in his previous two attempts when he was stopped in 2019 by Khabib Nurmagomedov and in 2021 by Oliveira. But he earned the chance to challenge for the elusive title by turning back Benoît Saint Denis at UFC 299 in March.

In a recent interview, Makhachev stated that Poirier “does not deserve” the chance to fight for the title but would be open to facing Poirier as he intends to fight at least twice in 2024.

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