Could the UFC do a lightweight tournament?

UFC, Dana White

This past weekend at UFC 254, Khabib Nurmagomedov defeated Justin Gaethje to retain his lightweight championship. After the fight was over, Khabib laid his gloves in the center of the octagon and said that he had fought his final fight in the UFC.

With that, the UFC‘s lightweight division has just been blown open. Nobody really knows what the promotion is going to do with the lightweight title now that Khabib Nurmagomedov is walking away from the sport.

Michael Chandler was in attendance because he was the backup fighter. Chandler had a suggestion for the UFC and that was to put on a lightweight tournament for the vacant title. The UFC hasn’t put on tournaments since the early days.

Well, I guess there was the flyweight tournament back in 2012. However, that was to crown a new champion in a new division. Chandler’s idea is definitely interesting for the promotion. I could also see the promotion making the Conor McGregorDustin Poirier fight for the title.

McGregor is the last undisputed lightweight champion not named Khabib Nurmagomedov. Meanwhile Poirier is the former UFC interim lightweight champion and he knocked out Justin Gaethje who was the interim champion entering UFC 254.

What will the UFC do?

There are a lot of people who want to see Justin Gaethje right back in a title fight. However, I don’t think the UFC is going to do that. The McGregor – Poirier fight just makes too much sense for the vacant lightweight championship.

I think you’ll see the UFC look to book Michael Chandler against Tony Ferguson. I think they really want to make that fight, and it would be a fun matchup for fans. They could then make a fight between Justin Gaethje and Dan Hooker.

The winners of those two fights could then face off for a chance to fight the winner of the McGregor – Poirier fight. The UFC is planning on McGregor – Poirier in January, and I bet the winner likely wouldn’t defend the title until the July PPV.

That would give the promotion time in the middle to have the winners face each other. So in a sense, it would be like a tournament. However, it would be a tournament to face the champion which will be decided in January.

I don’t know what the UFC will do and frankly they probably won’t do that. However, I think this would be a good way to get everyone matched up. The McGregor – Poirier fight is already almost done, why not up the stakes and make it even bigger by throwing the title on the line?