Gaethje (24-4 MMA, 7-4 UFC) said prior to getting booked against Rafael Fiziev at UFC 286 in March in London, he was approached by the promotion to coach the upcoming season of “TUF,” but it was Poirier who turned it down.
“Before I signed the Fiziev fight, they asked if I wanted to do ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ against Poirier, and he said no,” Gaethje said on Daniel Cormier’s YouTube channel. “I don’t blame him. I wouldn’t do it if I was him when you’ve got that much money. What, you’re going to pay me $80,000 to go f*cking six weeks away from my family? No thanks.”
Instead, Conor McGregor and Michael Chandler were selected to coach “TUF 31,” which airs May 30 on ESPN and ESPN+, with the conclusion of the season set for Aug. 15 after weekly episodes that will air Tuesdays.
Gaethje returned to the win column by snapping Fiziev’s winning streak. In a recent interview with TMZ, “The Highlight” said rematching Poirier would be the obvious next fight for him, but would rather get an opportunity to challenge UFC lightweight champion Islam Makhachev next.
“I’d rather have a championship fight,” Gaethje said.
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Poirier (29-7 MMA, 21-6 UFC), who finished Gaethje by fourth-round TKO in their Fight of the Night battle in 2018, also recently said that he’d be open to a rematch. “The Diamond hasn’t competed since submitting Michael Chandler in another Fight of the Night effort this past November at UFC 281.