After his dominant win over Edson Barboza at UFC 219, Khabib “The Eagle” Nurmagomedov puts himself in pole position to get a very big fight in 2018, either a full title shot or at the very least an interim title fight. Hopefully the weight making problems and injuries are behind him, and he can finally reach and show his true potential.
Everything depends on Conor McGregor, if and when he returns to the UFC.
Tony “El Cucuy” Ferguson should be next up for McGregor if the return is sooner rather than later, but Ferguson v Nurmagomedov for the interim title is the more likely option, as I am not convinced McGregor will return for the tiresome formality of defending his belt, especially when there is greater reward for less risk elsewhere, Georges St-Pierre for one.
Nurmagomedov wants to fight three times in 2018 so that says he won’t wait, hopefully Ferguson doesn’t sit out 7/8 months if McGregor does return late summer, and wants to defend his belt.
The lightweight division has been in limbo in 2017 but the next 12 months should be completely different.
As well as the big three, Dustin Poirier, Eddie Alvarez and Kevin Lee lie in wait, add Justin Gaethje to the mix, and it’s one hell of a talent rich division, but in the next 12 months Khabib might be crowned best lightweight on the planet.
Barboza of course has failed before when matched with the elite of the division, and the Russian will face sterner tests from Ferguson or McGregor, but right now he looks as though he will take some stopping.
Photo courtesy of Boss Logic.