We spent all this time leading up to UFC 254 trying to determine what was next for Lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, and in the end he threw a curve ball on us all. What’s next? Nothing. Nothing in the Octagon, anyway. Khabib has decided to retire and ride off into the sunset at 29-0. Who cares about nice, round numbers? Not Nurmagomedov, who was so over all the attention he bounced from the arena on “Fight Island” without a single word to the media and press.
So that leaves us with a new question: what’s next for the UFC Lightweight title?
Many expect UFC to turn the proposed Jan. 23, 2021, bout between Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier into a fight for the title. Others see a bout between Tony Ferguson and Michael Chandler as the leading contender for the soon-to-be-vacant belt. But, Michael Chandler himself had another idea that we like a lot: a UFC Lightweight tournament.
“Let’s be honest, I’m the new guy, I’m not going to come in and say, ‘Hey guys, I deserve a title shot,’” the former Bellator champ Chandler told BT Sport. “I’d love my name to be thrown into the mix. I’d love the opportunity to fight in a four man tournament for that title. There’s all sorts of different things the UFC could do, this is the biggest martial arts sports promotion in the world and I’m excited to be a part of it.
“But Conor, Poirier, myself, Ferguson,” he continued. “There’s some names that need to be fighting for a title so let’s make it happen.”
A four-man tournament is something we’d love to see as well. Put Ferguson vs. Chandler on the McGregor vs. Poirier card, maybe have Justin Gaethje fight Charles Oliveira or something for the alternate spot? As Chandler said, there’s tons of possibilities that are way more interesting than just handing the shot to McGregor vs. Poirier or Ferguson vs. Chandler outright.
What would your dream lightweight eliminator tournament look like to you, Maniacs?