Poirier beat Gaethje via TKO in 2018, and the Americans will square off again in Utah, with the ‘Baddest Motherf*****’ title on the line.
The UFC introduced the belt in 2019 as a prize for the winner of a fight between Nate Diaz and Jorge Masvidal, with the latter winning via doctor stoppage. WWE star-turned-actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson then wrapped the gold around Masvidal’s waist.
The title has not been involved in any fights since then, and Masvidal retired from mixed martial arts last month after a loss to Gilbert Burns. The UFC is now reintroducing the belt, which will be up for grabs when Poirier and Gaethje meet in a lightweight bout on 29 July.
After beating Gaethje in 2018, Poirier went on to become interim champion in 2019 before losing to official champion Khabib Nurmagomedov via submission later that year. In 2020, Gaethje similarly claimed the interim title before losing to Nurmagomedov by submission while trying to unify the belts.
In Poirier’s last fight, the “Diamond” submitted Michael Chandler in November, a year after Gaethje outpointed “Iron Mike”. Gaethje most recently fought at UFC 286 in March, narrowly outpointing Rafael Fiziev.
Reigning lightweight champion Islam Makhachev is due to return to the ring in October, potentially against the winner of Poirier vs Gaethje 2.
In the co-main event of UFC 291, Alex Pereira will take on Jan Blachowicz. The bout marks Pereira’s light-heavyweight debut in his first fight since losing the middleweight title to Israel Adesanya. Meanwhile, Blachowicz is a former light-heavyweight champion.
Also, Paulo Costa faces Ikram Aliskerov, while Tony Ferguson goes up against Bobby Green, and Michael Chiesa fights Kevin Holland.
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