The UFC is bringing the “BMF” title back into the fold – and it’s vacant.
UFC 291 will take place July 29 at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City and will also feature a co-headliner between former UFC light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz, who welcomes former 185-pound titleholder Alex Pereira to the division.
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Poirier (29-7 MMA, 21-6 UFC) and Gaethje (24-4 MMA, 7-4 UFC) have angled for a rematch against one in another in recent months. The two first fought at UFC on FOX 29 in April 2018 when Poirier defeated Gaethje by fourth-round TKO in a Fight of the Year candidate.
Since that meeting, Poirier is 6-2, including two wins over Conor McGregor and an interim title victory over Max Holloway. The two losses, however, were both for undisputed titles, submission defeats to Khabib Nurmagomedov and Charles Oliveira.
Gaethje has the same record over that period of time with losses to the same two men as Poirier after consecutive knockouts of James Vick, Edson Barboza, Donald Cerrone, and Tony Ferguson before he was submitted by Nurmagomedov. A Fight of the Year candidate vs. Michael Chandler led to another title fight, which Gaethje lost against Oliveira.
In March, Gaethje won a majority decision against Rafael Fiziev.
There has only been one other BMF title fight in history, which took place at UFC 244 in November 2019 when Masvidal defeated Nate Diaz. The promotion hadn’t displayed public interest in reinstating the title in recent years, though the question was repeatedly asked.
The current UFC 291 lineup includes:
Justin Gaethje vs. Dustin Poirier – for BMF title
Jan Blachowicz vs. Alex Pereira
Paulo Costa vs. Ikram Aliskerov
Michael Chiesa vs. Kevin Holland
Tony Ferguson vs. Bobby Green
Derrick Lewis vs. Marcos Rogerio de Lima
Michel Pereira vs. Stephen Thompson
Vinicius Salvador vs. CJ Vergara