UFC plans for Lightweight division in case retired champion Khabib Nurmagomedov vacates title revealed by UFC president Dana White.
Khabib Nurmagomedov is the current holder of the UFC Lightweight Championship. However, his sudden retirement has thrown the division’s title picture into a disarray. With each passing day it seems unlikelier that ‘The Eagle’ will return to the octagon and Dana White is now preparing for life without the Dagestani.
For a while it seemed that Conor McGregor would somehow manage to goad Khabib into a rematch. Following McGregor’s loss and Khabib’s statement after the UFC 257 main event, it does not look like a return is on the cards anytime soon. So how does the UFC intend to deal with this?
UFC plans for Lightweight division in case Khabib Nurmagomedov vacates title revealed
In the event that Khabib sticks to his retirement and vacates the Lightweight Championship, the UFC plan to create a title match between two contenders in the division. Per TSN’s Aaron Bronsteter, Dana White revealed that those two men are the winners of UFC 257’s main and co-main event, Dustin Poirier and Michael Chandler.
Dana White also added that Poirier vs. Chandler for the title is the most likely scenario if Khabib vacates the title.
— Aaron Bronsteter (@aaronbronsteter) January 24, 2021
Surprisingly, Charles Oliveira was not mentioned despite the Brazilian sitting on an eight match win streak. It seems that he will have to wait for his chance while Chandler, who made his UFC debut on Saturday night, gets to fight for the title in just his second match!
Dana White had said a week before that Khabib had revealed to him his intentions to make a comeback.
“Basically, the way he feels right now is, he’s accomplished everything he set out to accomplish,” White said. “He thought that Oliveira looked really good in his fight against Tony Ferguson. So next Saturday, we have the McGregor-Poirier fight and Chandler-Hooker on there.
“His words to me were, ‘I’m gonna watch this fight.’ He continued, ‘I would never tie up the division, hold the belt, keep the belt away from anybody else. These guys do something spectacular, show me something spectacular and make me want to come back and fight.’ So I have the feeling that if somebody delivers, it could be on the co-main event or the main event and like I said he thought Oliveira looked good. Two fights coming up, Oliveira looked great — if these guys can do something special, Khabib will fight them.”
Khabib however, would almost immediately contradicted White’s statement.
“Something has to happen for me to come back,” Nurmagomedov told Sport24. “…And if we talk about all my business projects — I have so much to do that is planned and fights are not in these plans. … This [fighting] is what I have been doing all my life and I will continue to train constantly as well. But if we talk about the fights, they are not part of my plans.
“… My mother is the most precious thing I have left. Come on, you won’t push me to do things that will disappoint my mother. … I don’t even have any plans for the UFC in the near future, I don’t even have thoughts about preparing for the fight. I saw how Umar [Nurmagomedov] was preparing now [for UFC Fight Island 8] and I think: Alhamdulillah I have left it behind.”
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