Beneil Dariush: Dustin Poirier turned down two fights because ‘I don’t get him excited, I guess’

AUSTIN, Texas – Beneil Dariush has moved on from the idea of fighting Dustin Poirier.

Dariush (22-5-1 MMA, 16-5-1 UFC) claims he was offered Poirier on two occasions, but “The Diamond” turned the fights down. Poirier has said in past interviews he’s seeking fights that excite him, just like the Justin Gaethje rematch at UFC 291 did.

Dariush won’t beg for the matchup if Poirier (29-8 MMA, 21-7 UFC) isn’t interested.

“I’ve seen interviews with Dustin, and he’s not really interested in fighting me,” Dariush told MMA Junkie and other reporters at a pre-fight news conference Wednesday. “I don’t get him excited, I guess, the way he puts it. My understanding is when Jon Jones got hurt, they were hoping to boost (UFC 295) up with Dustin Poirier and myself, and they called him and he wasn’t interested.

“I believe they even tried for this date. This is what I was told. I’m not sure what he was told on his side, but they were also given the option to fight this date with me and he turned down both of them. That’s what I’ve been told.”

Dariush drew rising contender Arman Tsarukyan (20-3 MMA, 7-2 UFC) instead. The pair headline Saturday’s UFC on ESPN 52 event at Moody Center in Austin, Texas. The main card airs on ESPN following prelims on ESPN+.

Dariush explains that fighting Poirier would definitely excite him, but holds no grudge if the sentiment isn’t reciprocated.

“I can’t force a man to fight me,” Dariush said. “The opportunity to fight a guy like Dustin Poirier would be amazing because of his skills and what he’s done in this sport, but I understand his legacy and he wants certain types of fights, and he’s done what he’s done in this sport. If he wants to pick his fights at this point, all the best.”

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC on ESPN 52.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie