Khabib and Dana White to meet one final time after UFC 257 in Las Vegas

This weekend, Dana White and UFC lightweight champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov (29-0), had their much anticipated meeting. The world was expecting a final resolution after the meeting. White teased that an announcement would be made at UFC Fight Island 7.

Well, White did announce the results of that conversation yesterday. However, in the end, nothing new came of it. According to White, Khabib is going to sit back and watch UFC 257 and see if any of the four top lightweights competing entices him to come back.

Khabib has apparently told White that he doesn’t want to tie up the division. He apparently has been very impressed with Charles Oliveira (30-8, 1 NC) as of late, but he’s still not 100% sure he will come back. He’s looking for something that excites him to make him come back.

While that’s certainly not a yes, the more important thing is that it’s not a no. With Khabib telling White that he’ll sit back and wait, you can tell that the UFC lightweight champion is still interested in competing. Otherwise, he wouldn’t think twice about UFC 257 next weekend.

UFC’s plan with Khabib

Dana White told the media at the UFC Fight Island 7 post-fight press conference that Khabib is leaving Fight Island after the Wednesday card. However, he’s not flying home to Russia, but instead, he’s flying to Las Vegas.

After the UFC’s current stint on Fight Island wraps up, White will be returning to Las Vegas as well. White said that the current plan is for him and Khabib to meet up for dinner after he returns home from Fight Island.

Apparently, that is the meeting where the final decision will be made. After next weekend, Khabib will decide whether there are any challenges left for him in the UFC that interest him. If so, he’ll come back to defend the title. If not, he will vacate the title for the division to move on.

It’s not a secret, but the desire for the UFC is to have Khabib defend his title in a rematch against Conor McGregor (22-4). McGregor of course headlines UFC 257 against Dustin Poirier (26-6, 1 NC). Should McGregor win, that will be the fight the UFC pushes for. It’ll be interesting to see if Khabib is interested.

Is the UFC targeting Nate Diaz – Justin Gaethje?

Earlier this week, Dana White said that the UFC was working on the lightweight return of Nate Diaz (20-12). Diaz is one of the biggest stars in the sport and a return to lightweight would signal that he plans to be more active.

White wouldn’t give any significant clues on who his opponent would be. However, he did shut down the rumor of a potential fight with Tony Ferguson (25-5). That’s a fight that UFC fans really liked, but it’s not the fight the promotion is moving towards.

One intriguing things is that White said if Diaz wins, it’ll put him in a great position at lightweight. With that, you have to imagine that whoever he fights will be a top ranked UFC lightweight.

I started thinking through all of the guys in the top ten and I listed out some options in this article. However, while on Fight Island, White was interviewed by Farrah Hannoun and she threw out an option that made the boss smile. That option was Justin Gaethje (22-3)

Will the UFC book Diaz – Gaethje?

When Hannoun gave a guess of Diaz – Gaethje, White just smiled and said, “I don’t know, we’ll see.” Of course, that’s a classic response from the UFC president. If this is the direction the promotion goes, it would be a change from the original plan.

Recently, White said that the UFC was trying to make Justin Gaethje – Charles Oliveira. Charles Oliveira (30-8, 1 NC) is on an incredible streak and many believe that he could be the most dangerous contender in the lightweight division.

However, Oliveira’s manager came out and said that they didn’t want the Gaethje fight. With Oliveira seemingly not interested in fighting The Highlight, it is very possible that the UFC switches gears to make the Diaz fight which would be a huge winner with fans.

Today, Dana White is going to announce the future of Khabib Nurmagomedov (29-0). White said in a video that he would announce Khabib’s future and what it means for the rest of the lightweight division. We should expect some clarity at 155 within the next week.

Charles Oliveira wants a UFC title shot next, not Justin Gaethje

A UFC lightweight who saw his stock soar in 2020 was “Do Bronx” Charles Oliveira (30-8, 1 NC). Oliveira has flown under the radar in the premium division in the promotion despite the winning streak he’s on.

Heading into 2020, Oliveira was riding a six-fight winning streak. Not only that, but he had finished all six opponents in those UFC contests. He started out 2020 by taking on Kevin Lee (18-6) back in March.

This event was actually the UFC‘s last event before they shut down due to the pandemic. Oliveira impressed again as he was able to score a third round submission victory over Kevin Lee. His seventh straight stoppage win in the lightweight division.

Then, Oliveira got the biggest fight of his career. A co-main event slot against El Cucuy, Tony Ferguson (25-5) at UFC 256. Ferguson was looking to bounce back after he had lost to Justin Gaethje (22-3) back in May.

Oliveira completely dominated the former UFC interim lightweight champion. Had Ferguson not been so tough, Oliveira would have scored another first round stoppage. He locked in a deep armbar that had me tapping from my chair at home.

Instead, Ferguson gutted it out and fought through it. However, Oliveira still dominated every second of the fight to make it eight straight. Last week, Dana White said that the UFC was looking to book Oliveira against Gaethje. Well, Oliveira is not a fan of that.

Do Bronx isn’t down with the UFC’s plan

Oliveira’s manager told MMA Fighting, “With all due respect, Khabib ran over (Gaethje). That must count, and a lot. I believe Charles’ next fight has to be for the belt against the winner of Poirier and McGregor, not Justin Gaethje.”

It was also revealed that Oliveira’s next fight will be the final fight in his UFC contract. However, Oliveira’s manager made it clear that Do Bronx isn’t going anywhere and that they are working towards a new deal with the promotion.

I completely understand where Oliveira is coming from. He’s won eight fights in a row and seven have been stoppages in the toughest division in the sport. However, that still might not matter at the end of the day.

Conor McGregor (22-4) and Dustin Poirier (26-6, 1 NC) are fighting at UFC 257. The winner of that fight will be fighting for the lightweight title no matter what in their next fight. Should McGregor win, the UFC is going to push for the rematch with Khabib Nurmagomedov (29-0).

Khabib is retired, but Dana White is going to try and convince him to fight one more time in the UFC this week. However, even if Khabib stays retired and McGregor wins, Oliveira will likely need to get one more win to get a UFC title shot.

While he’s certainly deserving, the promotion is also going to look at what’s the biggest fight they can make. McGregor – Oliveira doesn’t sell the way McGregor – Gaethje would. That said, I think Oliveira is going to have to settle for the UFC giving him Justin Gaethje.

If Do Bronx runs through Justin Gaethje, there’s no denying him. It’s a very tough position to be in, however, I don’t think he’s going to have another choice.

UFC targeting Justin Gaethje – Charles Oliveira per Dana White

Last night the UFC President did a live Q&A for fans and subscribers of ESPN+. Dana White fielded a number of questions on a variety of topics surrounding the promotion. A fan asked him about what’s next for Justin Gaethje (22-3).

The former interim lightweight champion is coming off of a loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov (29-0) at UFC 254. Since then, it’s been relatively quiet on what would be next for The Highlight.

The speculation was that Gaethje would be fighting Michael Chandler (21-5) at UFC 257. However, as we’ve recently learned, Dan Hooker (20-9) is going to be tasked with being the first to welcome Chandler to the UFC. 

With those two booked against each other, White said they have an opponent in mind for Gaethje. White said that the UFC is working on Gaethje taking on Charles Oliveira (30-8, 1 NC) if all goes as planned.

UFC lightweight showdown

This is the perfect fight to make for the lightweight division. It’s also the fight that makes the most sense given the current landscape of 155. Conor McGregor (22-4) and Dustin Poirier (26-6, 1 NC) are headlining UFC 257 in a couple of weeks.

White said that the winner of that fight will be the number one contender. There had been speculation that the fight could be for the UFC lightweight title should Khabib Nurmagomedov completely vacate his title.

However, it appears that it will just be a title eliminator. Should Khabib stay retired, the winner of UFC 257 would likely take on the winner of this proposed matchup between Gaethje and Charles Oliveira.

Prior to the loss to Khabib, Gaethje had won four fights in a row and all of them came by knockout. Charles Oliveira is looking better than ever and he just picked up his eighth straight victory at UFC 256 over Tony Ferguson (25-5).

It appears that the UFC is putting together a little lightweight tournament. White said last week that in a perfect world, Khabib would fight one more time. If that happens, the winner of UFC 257 would get the shot at him.

If that were to happen, the winners of the Gaethje – Oliveira and Chandler – Hooker fights would likely fight. However, I believe that Khabib is likely to stay retired thus the winner of McGregor – Poirier will take on the winner of Gaethje – Oliveira for the UFC lightweight title.

UFC Match Maker: Tony Ferguson – Paul Felder

Tony Ferguson, UFC

This past Saturday at UFC 256, Tony Ferguson (25-5) was looking to bounce back after his loss to Justin Gaethje earlier this year. El Cucuy was taking on Charles Oliveira (30-8, 1 NC) who had been surging heading into UFC 256 with seven straight wins.

I thought Ferguson would get back on track, but it proved to be another rough night for the former UFC interim lightweight champion. Oliveira completely dominated Ferguson and almost broke his arm in the first round.

Ferguson’s loss to Justin Gaethje was hard, but he had his moments in that fight. He was able to drop Justin Gaethje in the second round. However, Ferguson had no real bright spots at UFC 256. It was an extremely one-sided fight.

El Cucuy has now lost two straight while being dominated for most of those two fights. So what is next for Ferguson? Tony Ferguson is still one of the best in the world and his ranking shows that as he’s ranked fourth in the lightweight division.

The two men he’s lost to are two of the best in the world. The UFC is going to give Ferguson a high quality opponent in his next fight. I think I have an idea that works for Ferguson and the promotion.

UFC: Ferguson – Felder

I think that the UFC should pair Tony Ferguson up with Paul Felder (17-6). Like Ferguson, The Irish Dragon is coming off of two straight losses to guys inside the top seven at lightweight.

After Felder lost to Dan Hooker earlier this year, it looked like he wouldn’t fight again. However, he stepped in last minute at UFC Vegas 14 and he found the love for fighting again. He went five hard rounds with Rafael Dos Anjos.

Both Felder and Ferguson are fan favorites. Both are currently ranked inside the UFC‘s top seven and they both need a fight. This would be a tremendous matchup that would be fun, but it would also make sense for the division.

After dominating Tony Ferguson at UFC 256, what’s next for Charles Oliveira?

This past Saturday evening in the co-main event of UFC 256, Charles Oliveira (30-8, 1 NC) took on Tony Ferguson (25-5). Ferguson was looking to bounce back after his last loss while Oliveira was looking to continue his winning streak.

Heading into UFC 256, Oliveira had won seven fights in a row. However, it was the way he won those seven fights which stood out. Oliveira had finished all seven of his opponents leading into UFC 256.

Saturday night was the biggest test in the career of Charles Oliveira. With Oliveira, the questions never surrounded his talent. However, there had been times in his career where he came up short in the big fights.

Granted, a majority of those opportunities happened at featherweight. Oliveira is no longer depleting himself to make 145 pounds. Fighting at lightweight has really allowed Charles Oliveira to reach his prime inside the octagon.

That really showed at UFC 256. Oliveira completely dominated the former interim lightweight champion and nearly finished him in the first round. With the dominant victory, Oliveira made a huge leap in the rankings. 

What’s next after UFC 256?

With his victory at UFC 256, Oliveira went from seventh to third in the lightweight division. The only contenders ranked ahead of him at the moment are Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje.

Poirier is scheduled to face Conor McGregor at UFC 257. Justin Gaethje is being rumored to face Michael Chandler in the co-main event of that card. Conventional wisdom said the winners of those two fights would face off for the title if Khabib Nurmagomedov stays retired.

If that happens, what’s next for Charles Oliveira? This is a tough question to answer at the moment. On one hand, Oliveira definitely deserves to be in the conversation for the next UFC title shot.

However, if the promotion goes with this four man style tournament, that leaves Oliveira as the odd man out. For the sake of this article, let’s say that the promotion books those four men up at UFC 257.

If the winners come out unscathed, I could see the UFC giving Oliveira the loser of one of the fights. However, if one of the winners is going to be out for some time, the promotion could give Oliveira a title shot against the other winner.

There are a few options for the promotion and their third ranked lightweight. I think no matter what, Oliveira will either be fighting for the title in his next fight or he will be fighting in a title eliminator.

Charles Oliveira dominates Tony Ferguson at UFC 256

In the co-main event of UFC 256 we had a lightweight clash between Tony Ferguson (25-4) and Charles Oliveira (29-8). Heading into tonight, this lightweight battle was being labeled as the people’s main event.

Tony Ferguson saw his 12-fight winning streak snapped back at UFC 249. That night, Ferguson was finished by Justin Gaethje in a battle for the interim lightweight title. Ferguson’s winning streak was unheard of for this stacked division.

El Cucuy was looking to get back to his winning ways, but he was going to have his hands full. Charles Oliveira entered UFC 256 looking like the fighter many always believed that he could be.

For Oliveira it was never a question on how talented he was. However, he always seemed to struggle in big moments. Yet, entering UFC 256, Oliveira was on a seven-fight winning streak where he finished all seven opponents.

UFC 256 Recap

Round 1

As the UFC 256 co-main event got underway, both men touched gloves. Oliveira opened the striking with a front kick to the body. Oliveira then throwed a powerful leg kick that Ferguson countered with a stiff jab. Ferguson seemed to be on his back foot early on.

Oliveira was really pressing forward with power shots early on. A big head kick landed for Oliveira, but Ferguson was game throwing big shots of his own. The two clinched and Oliveira picked Ferguson up and slammed him to the ground.

Oliveira settled into Ferguson’s butterfly guard. Then, Oliveira transitioned beautifully into the mount position and Ferguson tried to just hold him in place. Ferguson attempted to buck Oliveira off a few times, but he ate some big elbows.

The former UFC interim champion appeared to be in big trouble in the first. Oliveira was doing fantastic of using top pressure to keep Ferguson in place. Oliveira then sunk in an armbar just as the round ended and had it fully extended. Somehow Ferguson didn’t tap, but a massive round for Oliveira.

Round 2

The second round of the UFC 256 co-main event got underway with Ferguson throwing body kicks. However, Ferguson’s arm looked completely compromised and he wasn’t throwing it. A minute into the round and Oliveira took him back down.

Once on the ground, Ferguson was trying to attack from his back, but Oliveira was doing a good job of controlling him. Oliveira did a good job of stacking Tony Ferguson and throwing big shots right down the middle.

The former UFC champion was getting beat up in the second round. Oliveira was just doing a fantastic job of controlling Ferguson on the ground and beating him while doing it. The round closes with more top control from Oliveira. 2-0 for Oliveira in this one after two.

Round 3

The former UFC interim champion needed a finish heading into the third round. Ferguson opened with a nice body kick and a hook. Oliveira then started his striking with a body kick that buckled Ferguson’s leg.

A minute into the round and Oliveira shot in and slammed Ferguson back to the ground. Oliveira was able to work his way to the mount with three minutes to work. Ferguson tried to roll, but found himself caught in a triangle choke.

However, Ferguson was able to get out, but Oliveira was able to get back into the top position. Ferguson was able to sneak out the back, but Oliveira took him right back to the ground. The final round comes to a close with Oliveira in side control. Dominance from the start to finish for Oliveira.

Charles Oliveira def. Tony Ferguson by Unanimous Decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-26)

UFC 256 Preview: Tony Ferguson – Charles Oliveira

Tony Ferguson, UFC

The UFC 256 co-main event is being labeled as the people’s main event. Top seven lightweights go to war as Tony Ferguson (25-4) looks to bounce back against Charles Oliveira (29-8, 1 NC).

Ferguson is coming off of his first loss since 2012 at UFC 256. Back in May of this year in the promotion’s first event back after the pandemic shutdown, Ferguson fought Justin Gaethje for the interim lightweight title.

Originally, Ferguson was supposed to face Khabib Nurmagomedov, but that fight was cancelled because Khabib couldn’t travel. Gaethje stepped in and was able to finish Tony Ferguson in the fifth round of their fight.

El Cucuy was truly the boogey man of the UFC‘s lightweight division over the last eight years. He’s creative style that combines slick ground transitions and crisp striking is difficult for any lightweight to deal with. Despite the loss, he’s still one of the very best in the world.

Standing across from Ferguson will be “do Bronx”, Charles Oliveira. Oliveira is on an incredible run that is almost unheard of. He’s won seven fights in a row leading to UFC 256. However, the more impressive aspect is that he’s finished all seven of those fights.

Oliveira has been really putting everything together over the last three years. He’s finally been living up to his potential inside the octagon. Talent was never the question for Oliveira, it was all about execution when the lights are at their brightest.

UFC 256 Prediction

Words cannot describe how excited I am for this matchup at UFC 256. I’m right with the fans in saying that this is a main event to me. The only thing disappointing is that I wish this was a five round fight instead of three.

Both of these guys are good wherever the fight goes. Oliveira and Ferguson both possess incredible skills on the ground. Slick submissions with very creative transitions. Honestly, I might give the pure jiu jitsu advantage to Oliveira, but the scrambling advantage to Ferguson.

On the feet, Oliveira has looked very sharp in his last few outings. However, I lean slightly towards Ferguson in the striking specifically his boxing. I think this is such a fantastic matchup, but there’s one thing that has me leaning one way.

El Cucuy has been there and he’s done that. The former interim UFC lightweight champion has defeated some of the very best in the world. I think in this fight, Ferguson is going to be able to do what he needs to for the win. I expect a war, but in the end, I’m riding with El Cucuy.

Prediction: Tony Ferguson by Unanimous Decision

UFC: Michael Chandler is in camp, but who is he fighting?

Michael Chandler

Earlier this year, the UFC made headlines when they signed top lightweight, Michael Chandler (21-5). Chandler had been a Bellator champion on a number of occasions. He was always considered to be one of the best in the world.

However, with him fighting outside the UFC, there have always been questions on just how good he is. Chandler wanted to prove himself and see for himself just how good he is which is why he took a deal with the UFC.

He recently stated the the UFC was not offering him the most money. However, they provided the best competition which is what meant the most to Chandler. Originally, Chandler was supposed to make his debut at UFC 254 against either Tony Ferguson or Dustin Poirier.

The UFC tried to make a fight between Ferguson and Poirier, but after that fell through, they tried booking either against Chandler. A fight never materialized between Chandler and either of those top contenders.

Instead, Chandler still flew out to Fight Island, but as the backup for the UFC 254 main event. Chandler said it was his way of showing the UFC and the world that he is willing to take anything that they throw at him.

Recently, Chandler posted on Instagram that he was starting up his fight camp. He has aspirations to fight on the UFC 257 card which features the rematch between Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier. So, who is Chandler training for?

Chandler at UFC 257?

Based on Michael Chandler being in camp, the safe assumption is that the plan is for Chandler to fight in January. With that in mind, there are a couple of potential opponents for Chandler to face at UFC 257.

The front-runner in my opinion is Justin Gaethje (22-3). Gaethje is the top ranked lightweight in the UFC and the former interim champion. Gaethje said he needs to get a win before fighting for the title again, and Chandler needs an opponent.

Chandler has openly expressed his desire to fight Justin Gaethje. Another opportunity would be Dan Hooker (20-9). Hooker is currently ranked fifth in the division and he said that he wanted to send Chandler back to the B-Leagues.

The UFC could also turnaround either Tony Ferguson or Charles Oliveira if one of them wins without taking too much damage this weekend. No matter what, Chandler’s first opponent will be a top five lightweight. We should know sooner than later who that opponent is.

UFC Matchmaker: Justin Gaethje – Michael Chandler

There is so much movement and so many exciting things happening in the UFC‘s lightweight division. Just this past week, we saw the Conor McGregor – Dustin Poirier rematch made official and Tony Ferguson will be fighting Charles Oliveira. 

Both of those are insane matchups for fight fans. That being said, there are even more exciting matchups on the horizon for the UFC‘s lightweight division. The biggest MMA signing in 2020 had to be Michael Chandler signing with the UFC.

The former three time Bellator lightweight champion will finally get the chance to prove himself amongst the elite. However, the promotion has not been able to find Chandler an opponent quite yet.

Chandler was the backup for UFC 254 when Justin Gaethje took on Khabib Nurmagomedov. That night, Nurmagomedov ran through Gaethje to retain his UFC lightweight championship then announced his retirement. Although, his retirement seems to be up in the air.

Justin Gaethje wanted to get right back into the swing of things after the loss. He didn’t take much damage and he was itching to get back into the cage. Gaethje needs an opponent and Michael Chandler still isn’t booked. You see where I’m going with this?

Will the UFC book it?

I think given the current landscape, it makes all the sense in the world to have Justin Gaethje (22-3) fight Michael Chandler (21-5). It’s an excellent stylistic matchup for fans and both guys need a fight.

Chandler was trying to fight Tony Ferguson at UFC 257 when McGregor takes on Poirier. However, Ferguson was adamant about fighting in 2020 which is how he landed on the Charles Oliveira fight.

By all accounts, Chandler wants to make his UFC debut in January. Justin Gaethje is wanting to get back into the cage so it makes sense to pair the two. The other option for either man would be Dan Hooker.

Unfortunately for Hooker, he appears to be the odd man out at the moment. Ariel Helwani said yesterday that it appears that Michael Chandler might have an opponent for UFC 257. Hooker has been calling for a fight with Gaethje while we haven’t heard much from the former interim champion.

My guess is that the promotion is moving to book Gaethje – Chandler. In theory, the winner of that fight would fight the winner of the McGregor – Poirier fight sometime next summer. If Khabib is truly done, the winners would face for the undisputed UFC lightweight championship.

In this scenario the two odd men out would be whoever wins between Ferguson – Oliveira and Dan Hooker. Given the timelines, I wouldn’t be shocked to see the UFC book those two against each other sometime in the spring.