There is no shortage of options for UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov’s first title defense.
The most likely option of course, is former UFC lightweight and featherweight champion Conor McGregor, who was ultimately stripped of both titles for inactivity. McGregor was recently tied up with a legal debacle stemming from his crazed April rampage in Brooklyn, but is essentially now clear to compete if he so chooses.
Then there’s Dustin Poirier, who won big with a second round drubbing of former champion Eddie Alvarez in the main event of UFC on Fox 30 last weekend. With this win, Poirier improved to 8-1 with one no contest since returning to the UFC lightweight division from the featherweight division. Having scored stoppages in six of these eight lightweight wins, his claim to a title shot is incredibly strong.
Then, of course, there’s former interim lightweight champion Tony Ferguson. With the exception of the undefeated Khabib Nurmagomedov, Ferguson is riding the most impressive win-streak in the UFC lightweight division, having bested his last 10 foes, including Edson Barboza, Rafael dos Anjos and Kevin Lee. Unfortunately, he can’t seem to stay healthy.
During a brief chat with BJPenn.com’s Chris Taylor during last weekend’s UFC on Fox 30 festivities, Nurmagomedov provided a bit of clarity as to who is next.
— Chris Taylor (@CTaylor_96) July 29, 2018
“All signs point to Khabib vs Conor at UFC 229 in Las Vegas,” Taylor said on Twitter. “Nurmagomedov told me ‘Conor’s next’ and suggested ‘Poirier can fight Ferguson’.
While Poirier suggested after his Saturday win over Alvarez that he was prepared to wait for a fight with the winner of a potential Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Conor McGregor bout, he also implied that he could be convinced to fight Ferguson in the meantime.
“If [UFC President] Dana [White] calls me, and we make a deal for the fight, maybe,” Poirier said during the card’s post-fight press conference. “I don’t know. I’m the best in the world, man. I could beat all these guys.”
Who do you think is next for Khabib Nurmagomedov?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 7/30/2018.