UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov was watching the showdown between Justin Gaethje and Dustin Poirier, and he has some thoughts.
All eyes were on the lightweight showdown between Justin Gaethje and Dustin Poirier — including UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov. The new champion congratulated the fighters for a “great fight” just moments after Gaethje asked to fight him.
Nurmagomedov secured the lightweight title after defeating Al Iaquinta, who filled in for Max Holloway (who was filling in for Tony Ferguson), last week at UFC 223. The prior champion, Conor McGregor, was stripped of the title due to inactivity.
Poirier defeated Gaethje in the fourth round of UFC on FOX 29 in Glendale, AZ after one of the most exciting main events of the year. Naturally when asked after the bout who he’d like to fight next Poirier motioned for the belt and asked to fight Nurmagomedov next.
Poirier does seem like a likely next draw for Nurmagomedov (assuming that UFC President Dana White sticks to his word and doesn’t book Ferguson a fifth time to face Nurmagomedov). If Poirier defeats Nurmagomedov it sets up a comeback for McGregor (who beat Poirier in 2014).
Many wonder if it’s too soon for Poirier to get a title shot in one of the most stacked divisions in the UFC. He’s only on a two-fight win streak but has a recent victory over a former champion in Anthony Pettis.
No matter what, there’s a long line of title contender hopefuls aiming for the lightweight belt including McGregor (who claims he’ll return to the Octagon in 2018), Ferguson (who is recovering from knee surgery), former champion Eddie Alvarez and now, Poirier.
No matter who the UFC chooses, it won’t be anytime soon as Nurmagomedov who be observing Ramada from mid-May to mid-June.