When Khabib Nurmagomedov retired, he basically told the UFC that there is nobody good enough for him to fight anymore. This division has to be the most interesting in the company, for it’s depth and potential of a massive tournament. The UFC isn’t big on tournaments like Bellator or World Series of Fighting but the one thing the UFC has is enough money to give everyone good fights while convincing us that it’s actually the fight we want to see.
Khabib “retiring” vacates the Lightweight title which makes Justin Gaethje the assumed #1 contender with a bunch Muuuuuurderers (Joe Rogan Voice) lying in the wake. Dustin Poirier is facing off vs Conor Mcgregor for their rematch. Conor looks as ready as he ever has and Poirier seems to be looking for a couple pay days before his next title shot (if that ever happens). Let’s assume Conor wins this fight and let’s assume he wins and becomes the interim champ; the UFC claims him as the #1 contender after only fighting once at Lightweight in the last four years and that was a loss to Khabib. The LW division is stacked! Stacked so much that for the next 18 months we can see a S*** ton of good fights. Tony Ferguson, Justin Gaethje, Conor Mcgregor, Dan Hooker, Dustin Poirier, Charles Oliveira, Paul Felder, Michael Chandler and even Khabib if he isn’t really retired. I will admit that I believed the retirement but now… I’m not too sure. There’s too much money on the table for him to run away. And wtf kind of a record is 29-0??? 30-0 sounds so much better.
The way I see the division going is as follows:
Winners of Conor vs Poirier and Gaethje vs Chandler fight for the belt. Conor coming out with the belt would be the only way that Khabib comes out of retirement. Hooker needs a challenge, losing to Poirier was an eye opener to a kid that was moving too fast. All the talent in the world and the right recipe of smack talk, he can be a champ one day. I think Hooker vs Oliveira is a nice matchup… a sub king vs a versatile striker. Oliveira needs some respect! 7 wins in a row with 7 finishes . Most notable win was vs Kevin Lee. He needs a top 5 fight! immediately.
All this to say is that the division is stacked and if the UFC isn’t careful, they can lose some great selling fights. Take a listen to my recap on Weekly Sauce with Alex the Intern and guest Host of Unanimous decision Podcast Adam Caplan.