UFC currently working on Nate Diaz’s return to lightweight

One of the most popular fighters in the UFC appears to be heading back to his natural weight class. Dana White revealed this morning to The Mac Life that the promotion is working on the return of Nate Diaz (20-12).

White said that the UFC was working on a Nate Diaz fight as we speak. He also said that the fight would take place at lightweight which is the natural weight class for Nate Diaz. Diaz hasn’t fought at 155 since 2015 when he defeated Michael Johnson.

When Diaz fought Conor McGregor and Anthony Pettis, those fights were at welterweight despite all being natural lightweights. White also said that the fight would get Diaz right back into the title picture should he win in his return to lightweight.

We didn’t see Nate Diaz in a UFC octagon in 2020. Late in the year, the promotion looked to be moving towards booking the rematch between him and Jorge Masvidal. However, the UFC has decided to shift gears towards Masvidal – Colby Covington.

That left Nate Diaz without a dance partner. There really didn’t appear to be a clear matchup for Diaz at welterweight or lightweight. However, using White’s clues about his return to 155, let’s try to figure it out.

The UFC’s plan for Diaz

A fight that makes total sense for all parties involved is Nate Diaz – Tony Ferguson (25-5). That would be the biggest fight in my opinion that the UFC could make, however, Dana White said that the fight for Diaz is not Ferguson.

It’s hard to imagine that the promotion would book him against either Justin Gaethje (22-3) or Charles Oliveira (30-8, 1 NC). The plan currently is for those two to fight assuming the promotion can get the fight done.

The next available contender would be Rafael Dos Anjos (30-13). This fight would actually be a rematch from several years ago when RDA completely dominated Nate Diaz over the course of three rounds.

I find it pretty hard to believe that this would be the potential fight that White is hyping up. At this point, the most logical option appears to be Paul Felder (17-6). Considering the spot in the top ten, that would be the only opponent I can think of for Diaz.

White said that the win for Diaz would get him right back in the mix. Felder makes the most sense unless the UFC believes that the RDA rematch is the fight to make. Time will tell what will happen with Nate Diaz.

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.

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.

State of the UFC’s lightweight division entering 2021

As we close out 2020, the UFC‘s lightweight division is in limbo. The reason is that the undisputed champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov (29-0), said after his last fight that he was walking away from competition.

Khabib choked out Justin Gaethje (22-3) at UFC 254 to successfully defend his title. While in most cases the UFC would just move on and book a title fight for the vacant title, Dana White has said that he’s going to try to convince Khabib to compete again. 

Originally, Khabib wanted to retire at 30-0. However, after his father passed away this year, the UFC lightweight champion promised his mother that his fight against Justin Gaethje would be his last fight.

As of now, we still don’t know what’s going to happen. Nurmagomedov came out this week and said he believed that his title could be up for grabs at UFC 257. The main event of that card features the rematch between Conor McGregor (22-4) and Dustin Poirier (26-6, 1 NC).

State of the UFC’s lightweight division

If we do get confirmation that Khabib is no longer going to fight, it would make sense that McGregor and Poirier fight for the UFC title. The promotion wanted McGregor to fight for the title in 2020. Poirier is the former interim champion and deserves another shot.

It’s a fluid situation, but I think there’s a good chance we see some form of UFC title fight happen at 257. Although not officially announced, the co-main event that night is also a big fight for the lightweight division.

The UFC‘s prized signing of 2020, Michael Chandler (21-5), is expected to make his promotional debut. We found out last week that it appears he will be taking on Dan Hooker (20-9) in the co-headliner.

Again, that’s not confirmed. Whoever wins that matchup will be right at the top of the division alongside Justin Gaethje and Charles Oliveira (30-8, 1 NC). Oliveira announced his status as a top contender at UFC 256.

A few weeks ago, Oliveira completely dominated Tony Ferguson (25-5). The fight was incredibly one-sided and Oliveira should be in the conversations for a title eliminator after that performance.

2020 was a rough year for Ferguson who lost in dominant fashions to both Oliveira and Justin Gaethje. Ferguson was the boogey man of the lightweight division for so many years. However, he took a major step back in 2020.

There’s a reason why the lightweight division has been the best in the UFC for some time. It’s a murderers row of contenders and with Khabib stepping away, the division is up for grabs. Should be a very fun 2021 in that division.

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.