In January, Conor McGregor (22-4) and Dustin Poirier (26-6, 1 NC) are expected to headline UFC 257. The card will take place on January 23rd and it will be a massive fight for the UFC‘s lightweight division.
Many have been speculating on what will be on the line that night. Will the winner earn a shot at the lightweight championship, or will the winner become the UFC‘s lightweight champion.
The reason that there’s questions is due to current champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov (29-0). Nurmagomedov stormed through Justin Gaethje last month at UFC 254 to successfully defend his lightweight crown.
After the fight was over, Khabib laid his gloves in the center of the cage and said that he was retiring. However, UFC President, Dana White, has been saying recently that he doesn’t think Nurmagomedov might be retiring.
With Nurmagomedov retired, it would make sense for the UFC to put up the lightweight title for the McGregor – Poirier fight. However, last night, Dana White doubled down and said that there would be no title on the line on January 23rd.
UFC’s Lightweight Situation
When asked about the title and the January PPV, White told the media, “No. Khabibâ€™s gonna fight. I believe heâ€™s gonna fight. Itâ€™s (UFC 257) not for the title.â€ White shut down the notion that McGregor and Poirier would determine the lightweight champion.
If that holds true, there are a lot of questions surrounding what will happen with Khabib Nurmagomedov. Nurmagomedov’s father, who passed away this year, wanted him to retire at 30-0. However, his father had one fight in mind for that final fight.
It’s been said that Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov wanted Khabib to fight Georges St. Pierre in his final fight. A fight between those two could determine who is the greatest mixed martial artist of all time.
The former two-division world champion, GSP, has said that he is interested in fighting Khabib. There is so much respect there, but this would be a legacy matchup for both men.
If I had to guess, I think we are going to see the following situation play out. McGregor and Poirier will fight in January with Michael Chandler facing Tony Ferguson in the co-main event of the evening.
The winner of those two fights will fight each other. While that mini tournament is going on, Khabib Nurmagomedov will fight Georges St. Pierre at lightweight to determine the greatest fighter of all time.
Either Khabib will retire at 30-0 or GSP will become the first fighter in history to have captured titles in three weight classes. A very fluid but fun situation in the UFC‘s lightweight division at the moment.