The case for and against Charles Oliveira getting the next UFC title shot

The UFC‘s lightweight division is in a very unique spot. There’s still not really clarity at the top of the division with the undisputed champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov (29-0), seemingly retired. Yet, he still holds on to the title.

Just over a week ago at UFC 257, we saw Dustin Poirier (27-6, 1 NC) knock out Conor McGregor (22-5). In retrospect, this fight should have been for the vacant UFC lightweight title if Khabib is truly retired. However, Dana White has held out stripping Khabib in hoping he’ll come back.

In all likelihood, Khabib is not going to return to the UFC. At least, he’s not going to return anytime soon. With that, there’s no doubting that the top guy in the UFC is currently Dustin Poirier. You could consider him the uncrowned champion at this point.

After his win at UFC 257, Poirier said that he was only interested in a few opponents for his next fight. Keep in mind that his next fight should be for the lightweight title. Poirier said that he would fighter McGregor, Nate Diaz (20-12), or Charles Oliveira (30-8, 1 NC).

The hardcore fans are very much behind Oliveira getting the title shot. However, we know that the UFC is a business and sometimes the best business decision outweighs the fair decision. With that, should Charles Oliveira be the next in line for the title?

Case For Oliveira’s title shot

The easy thing to say here is that of course Oliveira deserves a title shot in his next fight. He’s currently on an eight-fight win streak where he’s finished seven opponents. In the UFC’s lightweight division, that’s almost unheard of.

Oliveira last competed at UFC 256 when he took on former interim champion, Tony Ferguson (25-5). Oliveira completely dominated Tony Ferguson over three rounds and came extremely close to finishing him in the first round.

After the fight, Oliveira said that he wanted the Poirier – McGregor winner for the title. After Poirier’s win at UFC 257, he also seems on board with fighting Do Bronx for the lightweight championship. However, is the UFC going to do that?

Oliveira has been sensational, however, during this eight-fight winning streak, he only has one top ten win. He submitted Kevin Lee and defeated Tony Ferguson, however, Ferguson’s stock had dropped after the beating he took from Justin Gaethje (22-3).

Why the UFC will likely say no

While Oliveira has looked sensational, he still doesn’t have that much general/casual steam behind him. There’s not an outcry from the public to see him fight Dustin Poirier for the title. While the MMA purest would love to see him fight for the title, it wouldn’t be the best business decision.

For Oliveira to get a title shot and it make sense on all fronts, he needs another big win. He needs to defeat someone else who has a big following in the UFC. If Oliveira can beat a guy like Gaethje or Michael Chandler (22-5) next, I think it would put him over the top.

I’m honestly torn on Charles Oliveira getting the next shot. I get it, he’s won eight in a row. However, only one of those wins was considered to come against the division’s elite. That combined with the lack of drawing power makes me hesitant to throw him in there against Poirier.

Anything can happen, but I would be pretty surprised if Oliveira gets the next UFC title shot. At the end of the day, you have to check the boxes of big business and resume. At the moment, Oliveira only checks the resume which is why I think he ultimately will not get the next shot.

UFC: Dustin Poirier will pull himself out of title picture if not offered the fight he wants

Dustin Poirier (27-6, 1 NC) is still riding high after his massive victory at UFC 257. It’s been just over a week, but the fight world is still buzzing about Poirier’s performance and his knockout over former two-division UFC champion, Conor McGregor (22-5).

Poirier’s run in the lightweight division is something truly special. He’s defeated the likes of McGregor, Justin Gaethje, Eddie Alvarez, Max Holloway, Dan Hooker, and Anthony Pettis. Since 2016, only Khabib Nurmagomedov (29-0) has been able to defeat Poirier.

After Poirier won at UFC 257, he made it clear that he believes he’s the uncrowned champion if Khabib is retired. When asked what he wanted next, Poirier said there were only three fighters who he was interested in at the moment.

In the post-fight press conference, Poirier listed off McGregor, Nate Diaz (20-12), and Charles Oliveira (30-8, 1 NC). Dana White said that the UFC wanted to put Poirier against Michael Chandler (22-5), however, Poirier hasn’t seem interested.

In a new interview with MMA Junkie, Poirier reiterated the fact that he’s only interested in certain opponents. Poirier went on to say in this recent interview that the UFC can put on another title fight and he’d remove himself if he’s only offered fights that don’t make sense to him.

What will the UFC do?

“I want to be the world champion, and Charles is a guy that’s paid his dues,” Poirier said to MMA Junkie. “Let him and Chandler fight for the belt. If they want Chandler in there for the title, and he’s calling for the title. Let them fight for the belt. I’ll take a step back and just watch.”

The UFC is now put in a very interesting position. Really, out of anybody inside the top five or six in the lightweight division, a fight with Charles Oliveira would sell the least in terms of PPVs.

Yes, Oliveira is on this incredible run where he’s won eight straight. However, he still doesn’t have massive buying appeal. In those eight wins, the only main wins of significance were Kevin Lee and Tony Ferguson, who was dominated by Justin Gaethje earlier in 2020.

Michael Chandler is a much bigger opponent in terms of business for the UFC. The same can be said for McGregor and Nate Diaz. Based on Poirier’s current position, I personally believe that the trilogy with McGregor is likely going to come next.

As of right now, I just can’t see the promotion making the fight between him and Oliveira. I think Oliveira needs to get one more signature win to build up the awareness around him a bit more. Oliveira is like the Leon Edwards of the lightweight division. Resume is great, but drawing power is not.

State of the lightweight division after UFC 257

This past weekend at UFC 257, Dustin Poirier (27-6, 1 NC) and Conor McGregor (22-5) had their highly anticipated rematch. The lightweight champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov (29-0), was watching and trying to decide if he wanted to come back to fighting.

Dustin Poirier had the performance of a lifetime. After losing the first round on all three scorecards, Poirier came back to TKO McGregor in the second round at UFC 257 and proved that he’s the best lightweight in the world not named Khabib Nurmagomedov.

After the event was over, many were wondering what Khabib would do. Khabib had retired after UFC 254 when he dominated Justin Gaethje (22-3) to retain his lightweight title. However, Dana White said that if someone enticed him to come back, he would.

At the UFC 257 post-fight press conference, Dana White said that it didn’t look good for Khabib coming back. At the end of the day, Nurmagomedov dominated the three best lightweights in the UFC in his last three fights. Not only that, but he finished all three of them.

State of the UFC’s lightweight division

For the sake of this, let’s take Khabib out of the question. The number one lightweight in the UFC is Dustin Poirier. He’s proved that over the last few years and now he’s stopped both Conor McGregor and Justin Gaethje.

Right behind Poirier you have McGregor and Gaethje. Charles Oliveira (30-8, 1 NC) is currently on an eight-fight win streak and Poirier said after the fight that he’s probably the most deserving guy in the division of a UFC title shot.

Also at UFC 257, Michael Chandler (22-5) made his debut against Dan Hooker (20-10). Chandler knocked Hooker out in the first round to secure his third straight first round knockout on Saturday night. He’s expected to be in the top five when the rankings come out.

The wildcard in the lightweight division is Nate Diaz (20-12). Diaz is one of the biggest stars in the sport and he’s returning to the lightweight division. After UFC 257, Diaz called for a fight against Dustin Poirier. 

Needless to say, the lightweight division is stacked. Poirier is going to be fighting for the title in his next fight. There are questions around who that will be. Poirier said that he’s only interested in three opponents: McGregor, Diaz, and Oliveira.

However, Dana White said that he believed that Chandler should get the shot at Poirier. If I had to take a guess, I think the UFC is going to put Poirier against Diaz or McGregor for the title. Those are the two biggest fights to make and that’s what The Diamond wants. Fun times ahead at lightweight.

UFC: If Khabib stays retired, Poirier will fight Chandler for the title per Dana White

UFC, Dana White

What a night it was at UFC 257. We saw some shocking results and some incredible fights. Of course, the headlines everywhere will be talking about how Dustin Poirier (27-6, 1 NC) knocked out Conor McGregor (22-5) in the second round.

After a good first round for McGregor, Poirier really started to hurt him with leg kicks. A couple of minutes into the second round and McGregor really wobbled from a big calf kick. Poirier swarmed and landed some shots up top that put McGregor down. 

Poirier proved he’s the best lightweight in the UFC not named Khabib Nurmagomedov (29-0). Just one fight before Poirier, Michael Chandler (22-5) announced his presence against Dan Hooker (20-10) in the co-main event.

Chandler knocked out Hooker with a vicious left hand and follow up shots. There were a lot of questions about Michael Chandler entering UFC 257 and he answered all of them tonight.

During the post-fight press conference, Dana White was asked about the champion Khabib Nurmagomedov. White said that it didn’t look positive in terms of Khabib coming back to fight again which means the UFC‘s lightweight title is up for grabs. White already has a plan for the title.

UFC’s next lightweight title fight

Dana White told the media after UFC 257 that Dustin Poirier would be fighting Michael Chandler for the lightweight title next. This is of course assuming Khabib decides to stay retired.

Both men are coming off of incredible performances on the biggest stage possible. It makes perfect sense for the UFC to capitalize on the momentum of both fighters after such a massive event.

There are a lot of fans who will probably feel for Charles Oliveira (30-8, 1 NC). Oliveira is currently riding a eight-fight win streak at lightweight. He just dismantled Tony Ferguson (25-5) back at UFC 256.

However, Ferguson is really the only big win that he has. Ferguson’s stock is also not as high after he was destroyed by Justin Gaethje (22-3) earlier in 2020. My guess is that the promotion will book Gaethje – Oliveira.

I think the fight that makes the most sense for the title is Chandler – Poirier. Two incredible performances and two athletes that will bring it for the UFC. 2021 should be a fun year for the lightweight division.

UFC 257 Preview: Conor McGregor – Dustin Poirier 2

We are just one day away from UFC 257 and the main event that fight fans have been waiting for. Dustin Poirier (26-6, 1 NC) will get his chance at revenge when he takes on the biggest star in the sport, Conor McGregor (22-4).

The fight is of course a rematch from UFC 178. That night, Poirier was supposed to provide the first true test for Conor McGregor. Instead, McGregor tore through Poirier and finished him in the first round.

Here we are now over six years later getting ready to see the rematch and this time at lightweight. For Dustin Poirier, his career really took off when he moved up to 155 pounds. Since making the move to lightweight after the McGregor loss, he’s only lost twice.

One of those coming to the undisputed UFC lightweight champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov (29-0). Outside of that, Poirier has been sensational at lightweight. He’s tougher, more durable, and way more powerful at 155 pounds.

He became the UFC interim lightweight champion during his run. Poirier holds victories over Dan Hooker, Max Holloway, Eddie Alvarez, Justin Gaethje, and Anthony Pettis since moving up. Simply put, he’s one of the best.

Return of the Mac

Then of course you have Conor McGregor. The UFC’s first champ-champ will be making the walk for the first time since last January. It’s worth noting that this is actually only McGregor’s third fight in the UFC’s lightweight division.

In his first fight, he defeated Eddie Alvarez for the title. After that, he pursued a boxing match with Floyd Mayweather. The only other time he fought at lightweight was at UFC 229 when he lost to Khabib Nurmagomedov.

Despite this only being McGregor’s third fight in the UFC’s lightweight division, it should be noted that he’s one of the best in the world. If you’re doubting the skill of Conor McGregor, you’re simply hating on the man because his skill can’t be questioned.

You do not just knockout Jose Aldo and Eddie Alvarez the way he did without skill. You don’t finish Donald Cerrone in 40 seconds without skill. Conor McGregor is an incredibly dangerous lightweight contender and he might be the best in the world outside of Khabib.

UFC 257 Prediction

The rematch at UFC 257 is incredibly fascinating. I believe that both men are fighting at their natural weight class in this fight. Dustin Poirier is so much better than he was the first time they fought. However, McGregor is a lot better than he was as well.

The questions surround whether Poirier has done enough to not just make up the gap, but surpass McGregor. One thing I’ll be looking at right away tomorrow night is the pace and who pushes forward early.

When Dustin Poirier is at his best, he’s the one pressing the action. However, if he’s tentative and moving backwards, he gets himself into trouble. When he fought Max Holloway, the only time he was getting touched up was when he didn’t press the action.

He can’t afford to let McGregor dictate the pace at UFC 257. That said, he also needs to be incredibly careful in the first round when McGregor’s at his most dangerous. It’s a tight rope to walk and the first round is going to tell me a lot.

I’ve gone back and forth and I’m making this prediction based on the best version of both guys. If the best version of Dustin Poirier fights the best version of Conor McGregor at UFC 257, the result will be similar to the first and that’s what I’m going with.

I like McGregor’s speed and ability to throw straight shots. Poirier hooks a lot more than McGregor and if he does that too much, he’ll get beat to the punch down the center line. In the end, I think McGregor wins the rematch in the second round with a finish.

Prediction: Conor McGregor by TKO – Round 2

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.

Khabib Nurmagomedov will come back if someone does something special at UFC 257

Back in October after UFC 254, lightweight champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov (29-0) laid down his gloves and retired. It had been an incredibly tough 2020 for Khabib in which he lost his father to a battle with COVID-19. 

Khabib had promised his mother before the Justin Gaethje fight that he would retire after UFC 254. However, Dana White has been holding out hope that Khabib Nurmagomedov would change his mind and come back for one more fight. 

The original plan for Khabib was to try and retire from the UFC at 30-0. That was his father’s plan, but Khabib admitted that he didn’t want to go on without his father in his corner. Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov was the lead trainer for his son Khabib.

There is no questioning that Khabib Nurmagomedov is the best lightweight in the world. He’s an absolute animal who just appears to be getting better every time we see him. From a fighting perspective, it would be a shame to never see Khabib in the UFC again.

That is where Dana White has been coming from in wanting him to fight. Well, yesterday White and Khabib had their much anticipated meeting about Khabib’s future. After the first fight on the main card at UFC Fight Island 7, White announced Khabib’s decision.

The decision’s impact on the UFC lightweight division

White told Jon Anik that Khabib is going to wait until after UFC 257 to make a final decision. Khabib is not ready to close the door on his fighting future, however, he’s not ready to commit to a comeback just yet.

White said that Khabib will be watching next Saturday and if he feels that someone does something special, he’ll think about coming back to defend his UFC title. However, if nothing excites him, he won’t hold up the division and he will give up the title.

The Conor McGregor (22-4) rematch is what the UFC wants to do. However, McGregor has to get by Dustin Poirier first. For now, the decision really didn’t give us anything new. We know that Khabib is not fully committed to retirement, but at the same time, he’s not committed to coming back yet.

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.

Michael Chandler believes he will be the UFC lightweight champ this year

Michael Chandler

One of the biggest storylines for the UFC that came outside the actual octagon in 2020 was the promotion’s signing of Michael Chandler (21-5). The former Bellator lightweight champion finished his contract back in August.

After he knocked out Benson Henderson, Chandler was the hottest free agent in MMA. All of the big promotion’s were throwing money at him, however, there was one place he knew he wanted to be at.

Despite the UFC not offering the most money, Chandler signed with the biggest MMA promotion in the world. For Michael Chandler, signing with the UFC was more about his legacy and the competition over the money.

Chandler has made it very clear that he wants to prove that he’s one of the very best in the world. He served at the backup at UFC 254 if Khabib Nurmagomedov or Justin Gaethje would have fallen out of the main event.

Chandler showed up and made weight despite not being officially booked for a fight. He wanted to get the feel of being in the UFC and he wanted to meet everyone behind the scenes to get a sense of what it’s like.

After initially struggling to get him a fight, the promotion has booked Chandler for his debut at UFC 257. Chandler will be taking on top lightweight contender, Dan Hooker (20-9), in the co-main event of the evening.

Will Chandler become a UFC champion?

Michael Chandler recently sat down with MMA On Point where he talked about his journey in getting to UFC 257. He made it clear that he believes he will prove he’s the best in the world saying, “I truly believe I’m going to be the UFC Lightweight Champion this year.”

Defeating Dan Hooker would be a great first step for the former Bellator champion. However, even beating Dan Hooker isn’t likely to net Chandler a title fight right away. More than likely, he will have to win twice to get that shot at the title.

Granted, starting in January is a great thing for Michael Chandler and the UFC. Chandler has a desire to be active in 2021 and if he’s going to be champion, he’s going to have to fight three times this year.

Michael Chandler does have the skills to become a champion in the UFC. However, it’s going to be far from easy, but that’s his prime motivation. Chandler’s addition made the best division in the promotion even more exciting in 2021.

Dustin Poirier has signed a new eight-fight deal with the UFC

Next weekend at UFC 257, Dustin Poirier (26-6, 1 NC) will get the opportunity to avenge one of his biggest losses. In the headliner, Poirier will be taking on Conor McGregor (22-4) in a rematch from UFC 178.

The first fight that took place back in 2014 did not go well for Poirier. After a heated buildup, McGregor stopped Poirier in the first round. However, since that moment, Poirier has surged in his career.

Since the first loss to McGregor, Poirier has gone 10-2,1 NC in thirteen fights. The pinnacle of his rise came at UFC 236 when he defeated Max Holloway (21-6) to become the interim lightweight champion.

However, his interim reign didn’t last long as he was dominated by Khabib Nurmagomedov (29-0) at UFC 242 later that year. Still, Poirier is one of the very best in the world and he plans to show his improvement next Saturday.

Getting Poirier to this fight hasn’t been an easy thing. Originally, the promotion wanted Poirier to fight at UFC 254 in the co-headliner against Tony Ferguson (25-5). However, Poirier and the UFC couldn’t come to an agreement.

After they couldn’t come to an agreement on the money for the Ferguson fight, the promotion tried offering Poirier a fight with Michael Chandler (21-5). However, Poirier was still not good with the UFC‘s financial offer.

As a result, the talks fell apart and Poirier didn’t end up fighting. During this time, Conor McGregor was having his own issues with the promotion. With both men upset at the UFC, they talked online about having a charity match. That’s where things turned.

Charity Match to a New UFC Contract

McGregor and Poirier both agreed to an exhibition MMA match for charity that had nothing to do with the UFC. Of course, that is when the promotion decided to engage both men about fighting each other.

After a long negotiation, both sides came to a deal and the two are headlining UFC 257. However, it wasn’t just a one-off for Poirier. The Diamond revealed to Theo Von in a recent interview that he’s signed a new eight-fight deal with the promotion.

After all of the issues that Poirier was having with the promotion, it seems that everything has been ironed out. In the interview, Poirier even talked about a willingness to move up to welterweight eventually.

Poirier told Von, “I just signed an eight-fight contract with the UFC. My plan is to fight eight more times. I want to finish this contract I’m on, fight eight more times. Then we’ll see where we’re at there. But I’m not looking past that or before that.”

You can watch the entire interview below.