Khabib Nurmagomedov believes Dustin Poirier will be UFC lightweight champion within the year

Khabib Nurmagomedov, Justin Gaethje, UFC 254
Image via @ufc on Instagram

Former UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov believes that former rival Dustin Poirier will be crowned the new champion within a year.

Nurmagomedov was the best lightweight fighter in the sport before officially announcing his retirement from MMA earlier this year. As part of his retirement, Nurmagomedov vacated the UFC’s 155lbs belt, which Oliveira won when he knocked out Michael Chandler at UFC 262. Speaking to Sport 24, Nurmagomedov praised the new champion Oliveira for his victory, but cautioned that he won’t be champion for long. As far as “The Eagle” is concerned, Islam Makhachev and Dustin Poirier will take Oliveira’s belt from him.

“(Oliveira) seems to have eight wins in a row. So many early finishes. As I remember, only against Tony Ferguson did he have a full fight. I think Oliveira is a very worthy champion. Many finishes, many records in the UFC. It would be a shame if Michael Chandler won. Two fights in the UFC and already a champion? That would somehow be wrong. And Charles Oliveira has progressed very much. This is a worthy champion. I’m glad for him,” Nurmagomedov said (h/t MMAMania.com).

“But when Islam Makhachev rises in the rankings, Oliveira will no longer be champion. The main thing is that Oliveira should understand my words correctly. I respect him, he is a worthy champion. But when Islam will go up, there will be another champion within the year. In my eyes it will be Dustin Poirier.”

Poirier had the opportunity to fight for the vacant belt at UFC 262 but chose to fight rival Conor McGregor in a trilogy fight at UFC 264 this summer instead. It seems likely that the winner of McGregor vs. Poirier 3 will fight Oliveira for the belt next, and if it’s Poirier that wins the fight, then it won’t be long until he’s the champ according to Nurmagomedov.

Do you agree with Khabib Nurmagomedov that Dustin Poirier will be the next UFC lightweight champion?

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