UFC president Dana White said Tuesday that Dustin Poirier wasn't interested in fighting at UFC 254.
"Listen, I like Dustin," White told reporters, according to MMA Junkie. "I'm not going to sit up here and say anything negative about Dustin. He's a great kid. I don't know if it was he didn't want to fight in Abu Dhabi or what his deal was - he didn't want to fight.
"There's a lot of different ways to turn down a fight. Negotiating yourself out of one is one of the ways you can do it. So for whatever reason, he didn't want to take this fight. Only he knows that."
Poirier was expected to face Tony Ferguson on Oct. 24 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates in a battle of former interim lightweight champions. However, the bout fell apart after Poirier failed to reach a financial agreement with the UFC.
Ferguson has since urged the promotion to "pay the man," and a fight against Poirier reportedly remains his first choice.
Poirier responded to White on Tuesday and said he still wants the fight to happen.
"I do want that fight," Poirier wrote in a text message, according to MMA Junkie's Mike Bohn and John Morgan. "Simple and plain, I want to fight Tony. I like the matchup."
"The Diamond" doubled down on his message in a tweet:
White said the UFC has found a new opponent for Ferguson. "El Cucuy" hasn't yet agreed to the matchup, but White doesn't see that becoming an issue.
The UFC is reportedly the front-runner to sign former Bellator champion Michael Chandler, who became a free agent in August. The promotion has reportedly discussed booking Chandler against Ferguson if a deal with the former is finalized.