The UFC 257 pay-per-view (PPV) main event between former lightweight champion Conor McGregor and ex-interim titleholder Dustin Poirier will not be for the lightweight strap, even if retired division kingpin Khabib Nurmagomedov vacates his belt.
That’s according to UFC President Dana White.
Instead, McGregor will fight “the highest ranked guy” in the lightweight division after the Jan. 23 event, and if you’re wondering why there was no mention of Poirier, then you probably understand who White expects to prevail on “Fight Island.”
“No matter what you think of Conor personally, Conor McGregor is not only one of the best in the world, he’s one of the best to ever do it,” White told ESPN. “Right now he’s as focused as he’s ever been. If this Conor sticks around for the next year, how do you not do Khabib vs. Conor again? If Khabib does retire, then whoever the highest ranked guy is at the time will end up facing Conor if Conor beats Poirier and then would fight for the title, I’m sure.”
Perhaps White is still miffed over the way “The Diamond” used social media to bite back at the Las Vegas fight boss for suggesting the Louisianan was intentionally pricing himself out of fights, like the Tony Ferguson showdown that never came to fruition.
Or maybe White was just swayed by the UFC 257 betting lines.
Either way, the lightweight division is still up for grabs and as far as the rankings are concerned, Justin Gaethje sits at No. 1 with Charles Oliveira right behind Poirier at No. 3. Then we have this new variable entering the mix in the UFC 257 co-main event.
The next few weeks are going to be very, very interesting.