Had he not been booked against Jung for next Tuesday's UFC on Fuel 3 main event, Poirier would have been an obvious choice for many on his current winning streak. However, he's not trying to rush anything in his career at just 23-years-old.
"Sometimes I think about it," Poirier said in an interview with MMAWeekly.com. "Like, just a couple fights ago if I had said I'm finishing fights, and I'm beating good guys; I want a title shot. I could have said that after I beat Pablo Garza. I just want to learn and be ready. When it's my time to fight for the belt, I want to be ready. I want to take full advantage it."
Still, he feels he's nearing the stage where he is prepared for that shot, and this fight with "The Korean Zombie" could just be the final thing he needs to push him into that level.
"I definitely feel like I'm becoming myself inside the Octagon," he said. "I think the UFC likes it. I don't feel the pressure as much, I feel like I belong there now."
"If I can finish the Zombie or beat him decisively, let's see what happens [with a title shot]. Whatever the UFC thinks."
Penick's Analysis: Poirier and Hioki have received some criticism for their stance on not being prepared yet for a title shot. Especially when Koch expressed nothing but willingness to take the fight. Still, I can't fault any fighter for wanting to be ready for a shot like that. Jose Aldo is no joke, and for a young fighter like Poirier, if he wants to get another fight or two under his belt before attempting a fight like that, it just means he's cognizant of where he's at personally. There's no need to rush into something you're not prepared for.