The highly anticipated rematch between Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier could be set to decide the new lightweight champion. The fight takes place in Abu Dhabi on January 23rd.
McGregor’s nemesis Khabib Nurmagomedov is still seen as the UFC‘s lightweight champion however he retired after his stoppage of Justin Gaethje in October. Many people, including it seems UFC supremo Dana White, expected Khabib to return to the Octagon.
In a recent interview, Khabib seemed to reiterate his retirement and also expects the winner of McGregor – Poirier to be named the new champ.
“Lightweight has always been very competitive,” Nurmagomedov told Match TV via translation by RT Sport.
“All major UFC events in 2020 were built around lightweight. First [it was] Conor’s comeback, then Gaethje against Ferguson. Then Poirier’s comeback. Then my fight with Gaethje. This weight [division] has always been interesting and competitive.
“Top three [lightweight] fighters right now?” he asked. “Poirier, McGregor and [Islam] Makhachev. He is not in the top five yet, but those are the best fighters.
“My belt will be taken by the winner of Dustin and Conor.”
The only barrier to the belt being up for grabs is Dana White himself. According to Khabib, White has been trying to convince him to carry on and reach 30-0
“Dana and I are in touch and did not discuss the moment with the vacant belt,” he said. “This is because they want me to continue.
“This is clear – I have been in the league for nine years and have not lost. I have a story, a big fanbase.
“I don’t blame them and their desire is understandable. They persuade, I will not hide, but this is not surprising.
“They offer conditions and fighters, but it’s hard to surprise fighters. I finished half of the top 10 ahead of schedule.
“And so yes, I repeat: there are conditions and offers. In a couple of weeks, Dana and I will discuss all the points. I would not like to have the likelihood of my return.”