What’s next for Conor McGregor, Dustin Poirier and the others involved in the UFC lightweight title frame?
Dana White has suggested that attempts to convince Khabib Nurmagomedov to return to the Octagon for one last outing have been unsuccessful but the UFC President is confident that ‘The Eagle’ will give up the lightweight title so as not to hold up the division.
If, as is expected, the UFC lightweight title will be vacant in the coming months then it’s quite clear who should be fighting for the belt.
Dustin Poirier is a no-brainer to form one half of the 155lbs lightweight title fight after becoming the first man to knock Conor McGregor out when the pair took part in a rematch of their 2014 meeting on Saturday night.
It becomes a bit trickier when deciding who should share the Octagon with Poirier – although it is difficult to deny Charles Oliveira the opportunity after the Brazilian’s eight-fight winning streak in the UFC’s lightweight division, a run which has included dominant wins over Tony Ferguson and Kevin Lee.
Dustin Poirier vs. Charles Oliveira (lightweight title fight).
What next for Conor McGregor?
Where does that leave Conor McGregor?
McGregor might remain the biggest superstar in mixed martial arts, but not even his drawing power could justify awarding him a title shot after being finished in his last two lightweight outings.
The lopsided nature of his defeats to Poirier and Nurmagomedov pushes a McGregor title fight down the line but the Irishman could rustle up plenty of interest with the completion of his trilogy with long-time rival Nate Diaz.
Both McGregor and Diaz are coming off defeats, they have hardcore followings and they are 1-1 in their meetings. All that’s left to agree on is the weight class.
While the previous two match-ups have taken place at welterweight, McGregor and Diaz are able to cut to 155lbs and would position themselves for a potential title shot with an impressive performance in the rubber match.
Conor McGregor vs. Nate Diaz (155lbs).
Michael Chandler’s UFC debut could not possibly have gone better but there would be plenty of resentment if a newcomer earned a title shot after one victory in the murderer’s row that is the UFC lightweight division.
Chandler knocked Dan Hooker out in the co-main event of UFC 257 and took full advantage of the exposure by cutting an incredible promo afterwards but perhaps he needs to prove that there was no fluke involved in his debut bypassing the test posed by one of the most durable fighters in the world.
Justin Gaethje is up there with the most entertaining fighters on the UFC roster and will be hoping to bounce back from his defeat to Khabib Nurmagomedov last October.
The Chandler vs. Gaethje stylistic match-up would make for fascinating viewing and it would be hard to deny the victor a title shot.
Michael Chandler vs. Justin Gaethje (155lbs).
It appears that the prospect of Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Tony Ferguson will be resigned to the deep well of frustrating MMA what-ifs.
After putting together one of the most impressive winning streaks in UFC history, Ferguson has suffered back-to-back defeats for the first time in his career and he is in desperate need of a win to put himself back in title contention.
‘El Cucuy’ performs best when he is met with an opponent who will stand and bang with him, which makes a potential match-up with Dan Hooker a banker for fight of the night honours.
Hooker was stopped early by Chandler on Saturday night so would likely need to put together consecutive wins in order to earn a title shot. Book it!
Tony Ferguson vs. Dan Hooker (155lbs).