A bit of breaking news this afternoon. UFC lightweight champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov (29-0), has told Match TV that the rematch between Conor McGregor (22-4) and Dustin Poirier (26-6, 1 NC) will be for the lightweight title.
Nurmagomedov said that he was retiring after his title defense at UFC 254 over Justin Gaethje. It is worth noting that this news has not been confirmed by the UFC and there has been no official announcement regarding the UFC 257 main event.
Nurmagomedov told Match TV, “My belt will be taken by the winner of Dustin and Conor.” Khabib also said that he does not like the prospect of returning to the octagon insinuating that he’s happy with retiring as is.
Dana White has said that he plans on meeting with the lightweight champion when they are in Abu Dhabi. There have been whispers surrounding the McGregor – Poirier fight and the potential vacant UFC lightweight championship.
McGregor’s head coach recently stated that he didn’t see why the belt wasn’t on the line if Nurmagomedov was retired. Honestly, I completely agree with him. If Nurmagomedov is truly done for good, UFC 257 should be for the vacant lightweight championship.
UFC lightweight title up for grabs
The lightweight division in the UFC is in an interesting position. The promotion doesn’t to take away the title from Nurmagomedov after all he’s done for the promotion. Not too mention that he just fought and Dana White is hoping he will fight again.
However, it’s clear that Nurmagomedov is not going to be fighting lightweight contenders anytime soon. The only fight that would make sense for Nurmagomedov at this stage is a fight with UFC legend, Georges St. Pierre.
However, that fight doesn’t appear likely. In terms of the active lightweight division, UFC 257 would make for the perfect event to crown a new champion. The UFC wanted McGregor to fight for the title after he knocked out Donald Cerrone in January.
That is one of the reasons the promotion held him out. Dustin Poirier holds a knockout win over Justin Gaethje and he’s coming off of a win over Dan Hooker. McGregor and Poirier make for the perfect pairing to crown a new UFC lightweight champion.
This has been a possibility ever since this fight was made. Again, nothing has been confirmed by officials so I would take this news with a grain of salt. Still, it appears even more likely that UFC 257 will crown a new lightweight champion.