Could McGregor – Poirier be for the vacant UFC lightweight title?

Yesterday at UFC 254, Khabib Nurmagomedov (29-0) completely dominated Justin Gaethje (22-3) and retained his lightweight champion. Nurmagomedov was overcome with emotions after he was able to win by triangle choke.

The UFC lightweight champion lost his father earlier this year due to COVID-19. Khabib’s father, Abdulmanap, had been Khabib’s lead trainer for his entire career. There were questions surrounding his fighting future after his father passed.

However, the UFC lightweight champion wanted to keep going to honor his father. At UFC 254, he might have put on the best performance of his career in stopping Justin Gaethje. After the fight was over Khabib laid his gloves in the middle of the cage and retired from the sport.

With some fighters, there are questions and doubts when they first announce retirement. However, I think the majority of the MMA community believes Nurmagomedov will not be back in the UFC. That leaves a vacancy at the top of the lightweight division.

The division is absolutely littered with killers, and I guarantee, none of them are sad to see Nurmagomedov leave the division. So the question now becomes, who will get the first crack at the vacant UFC lightweight championship?

McGregor – Poirier for the vacant UFC title?

Before I get into McGregor – Poirier, I will say that Justin Gaethje deserves to be in the conversation for the first shot. He was the interim champion yesterday and just knocked off Tony Ferguson earlier this year to win that title.

However, I think there’s a clear front-runner for the vacant UFC title. The promotion is planning on having Conor McGregor (22-4) and Dustin Poirier (26-6, 1 NC) fight in January. Both men have agreed to the fight.

Poirier was the interim champion last year before losing to Nurmagomedov. He bounced back in June to defeat Dan Hooker. McGregor also last lost in a title fight to Nurmagomedov, but he bounced back and knocked out Donald Cerrone back in January.

The UFC wanted McGregor to face Nurmagomedov again if Khabib won yesterday. Now that Khabib has retired, it makes perfect business sense to book McGregor in the next title fight. Also, Poirier has just as much of a case as Gaethje considering he was also the interim champion.

There are several guys in the mix at the top of the division. You have McGregor, Gaethje, Poirier, Michael Chandler, Tony Ferguson, and Dan Hooker. You could pair all those guys up, but I think McGregor – Poirier is likely going to determine the next UFC lightweight champion.