UFC lightweight champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov has announced his UFC return. After multiple meetings with Dana White and now a meeting with Lorenzo Fertitta, Nurmagomedov has finally changed his mind about retirement.
Khabib posted: “Nice to meet you, Lorenzo. Send me the location, Dana White.”
Now that we can expect Khabib to defend his lightweight title once again, the question that needs to be answered is who should he fight next?
There are some intriguing matchups for Khabib Nurmagomedov in the division. The biggest fight for Khabib in the lightweight division has to be the rematch with Conor McGregor.
However, Conor McGregor lost to Dustin Poirier in his last fight. Had Conor won the rematch against Poirier, UFC would have been already promoting a rematch between Conor and Khabib. But, still, there is a chance that we will see this mega rematch between two of the biggest names in MMA history.
Conor McGregor will take on Dustin Poirier in a trilogy in the summer of 2021 as per Dana White. And if he beats Poirier in the trilogy there is no doubt that White will book the rematch between Conor and Khabib for the title.
However, if McGregor does not beat Poirier in the trilogy then UFC will have to choose among Dustin Poirier, Charles Oliveira, and the winner of Justin Gaethje vs Michael Chandler.
Though Dustin Poirier has already lost to Khabib Nurmagomedov he is arguably the second-best lightweight in the world now. And a rematch between him and Khabib will make sense if we consider the rankings. However, it’ll be hard to sell the rematch between Khabib and Dustin since Khabib dominated Poirier in the first encounter. There were some high moments for Dustin Poirier in the first fight but the outcome is not likely to change in the rematch.
Michael Chandler might be the biggest threat to Khabib Nurmagomedov
On the other hand, we have Charles Oliveria and Michael Chandler waiting for the title shot. Chandler takes on Justin Gaethje in his next fight. And it’s safe to say that Chandler is one impressive finish away from a title shot against Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Michael Chandler knocked out one of the toughest lightweights in UFC, Dan Hooker inside one minute of the first round. It has to be considered that Dustin Poirier was very close to losing the fight against Dan Hooker and that makes Chandler’s win even more impressive.
Michael Chandler has some serious power in his hand and he is the best wrestler in the division after Khabib Nurmagomedov. And unlike Justin Gaethje he still uses his wrestling prowess in his fights.
Though Charles Oliveira deserves a title shot against Khabib the division just has some bigger names and UFC might be more interested in booking Khabib vs Chandler instead of Khabib vs Oliveria.
The champion and veteran from Bellator trying to prove his worth against the greatest lightweight in history is a narrative the fans will be certainly invested in.