The undisputed GOAT of the Lightweight Division, Khabib Nurmagomedov, hung up his gloves after his record breaking win against Justin Gaethje at UFC 254 on the weekend.
‘The Eagle’ leaves the sport of Mixed Martial Arts undefeated in 29 professional fights and retires on top, having cleaned out the majority of his division in the process.
As soon as we as fans said goodbye to one of the greatest of all time, we look forward to the future.
And the Lightweight Division is bubbling under the surface with many challengers ready to take advantage of a vacant title.
We’ve taken a look at every single Possible UFC Lightweight Fights Post Khabib’s retirement.
Dustin Poirier v Conor McGregor 2
Well, this one is already locked in for January 23 (not official) and although we don’t agree that this makes the most sense for the vacant title we all know Dana White’s love affair for Conor McGregor and the money the Irish superstar makes the company may force his hand.
Conor McGregor, of course, has already defeated Dustin Poirier once, back in 2014, bu KO in the first round.
But Poirier is a much more rounded and complete fighter these days and this should be a cracking contest.
Dustin Poirier v Justin Gaethje 2
But fighters are coming off a comprehensive loss to former champ Khabib Nurmagomedov but both men earned the right to challenge him.
This fight, in my opinion, makes the most sense from a match making point of view but we all know this is not always how things plan out in this sport.
The timing is also a tricky one as Gaethje wants to fight within the next couple of months and with Poirier booked to fight McGregor, makes it tough.
Of course, these two have already fought once, in 2018, in an absolute war in which Poirier was victorious via a TKO in the fourth round.
Daniel Cormier agrees this is the fight that makes the most sense but he is also representative of the confusion we are all currently having in this video with Ariel Helwani.
Tony Ferguson v Dustin Poirier
Tony Ferguson was absolutely pieced up by Justin Gaethje recently but the fact of the matter is that he was undefeated in nine years previous to that!
There are plenty that are sleeping on Ferguson and are of the opinion that he will struggle to bounce back but this is recency bias at its finiest.
Tony Ferguson deserves a shot at the title! Period.
It is a crime that this fight has not happened so far and it would be a scorcher of a contest.
Dan Hooker v Tony Ferguson
If you are of the opinion that Tony Ferguson needs to have another fight in order to gain a title shot, than Dan Hooker makes perfect sense.
Dan Hooker beat James Vick, Al Iaquinta and Paul Felder before losing a decision to Dustin Poirier and he absolutely deserves to be in the mix now that the belt has been vacated.
Michael Chandler v Charles Oliviera
Who is Michael Chandler some may be asking?
Well, I’ll skip ripping you apart for being a casual and explain that he is the former Bellator Lightweight Champion who recently signed with the UFC.
He was the backup for the Khabib v Gaethje fight at UFC 254 but there are plenty that think he should prove himself in the greatest MMA promotion before he is given a title shot.
Charles Oliviera is the only current Lightweight (except McGregor) in the top 6 that is coming off a win.
In fact, he has won his last seven in a row.
There ya go. Get through him first.
Cowboy Cerrone v Michael Chandler
Put the new comer up against the seasoned veteran.
It wouldn’t be the first time the UFC has used this tactic.
It is pretty much the only reason why Alistair Overeem is still fighting.
Conor McGregor vs Anyone
Let’s face it, even though McGregor’s shine has somewhat been taken away due to his inactivity in the past few years, Conor remains the draw card in this division.
And as long as he continues to fight and not nick off to boxing or take a long hiatus, we don’t care who he fights.
Even though Khabib was a dominant fighter, he can not go down as the goat (in my opinion) because he was not an active champion.
He fought once in 2017, twice in 2018, once in 2019 & once in 2020. He defended his title just three times.
We don’t want another inactive champion holding up a division that is stacked with plenty of fighters willing to fight!
A Final 8 Series
Here me out.
We have a very similar series like we do in our Australian Football codes.
Two Qualifying Finals. Two Elimination Finals. Over the space of five ( or so) months.
UFC 256 (Late December)
Justin Gaethje v Tony Ferguson (Qualifying Final 1)
Charles Oliveira v Michael Chandler (Elimination Final 1)
UFC 257 (January 23)
Dustin Poirier v Conor McGregor (Qualifying Final 2)
Dan Hooker v Paul Felder (Elimination Final 2)
UFC 259 (March 2021)
Semi Final 1 = Loser of Qualifying Final 1 v Winner of Elimination Final 1
Semi Final 2 = Loser of Qualifying Final 2 v Winner of Elimination Final 2
UFC 261 (May 2021)
Preliminary Final 1 = Winner of Qualifying Final 1 v Winner of Semi Final 2
Preliminary Final 2 = Winner of Qualifying Final 2 v Winner of Semi Final 1
UFC 263 (July 2021)
Winner of Preliminary Final 1 v Winner of Preliminary Final 2 = NEW UFC LIGHTWEIGHT CHAMPION
Of course this system has it’s problems. Mainly that a fighter may have to fight four times in 6 months but we can only dream.