UFC’s Lightweight title picture is in a bit of disarray after champ Charles Oliveira was stripped of his title after missing weight for his title fight against Justin Gaethje by a half-pound. “Do Bronx” then went on to defeat Gaethje via first round submission at UFC 274 (watch highlights here) last night (Sat., May 7, 2022) inside Footprint Center in Phoenix, Arizona.
But, because Oliveira was ineligible to win the title back because of the weigh-in incident, the 155-pound strap currently sits vacant.
UFC President, Dana White, promised Oliveira immediately after the fight that he’d be the No. 1-seeded contender for his former belt moving forward. That leaves one-half of a title fight to be booked, and Khabib Nurmagomedov was extremely insistent that his close friend and teammate, Islam Makhachev, get the call.
“Dana White you have no other choice but make Oliveira vs. Islam fight in Abu Dhabi 22 October,” Khabib wrote. “Perfect date, Perfect location, Perfect opponents with perfect winning streaks 10 vs 11.
“Why Islam Makhachev has to do contender fight, if there’s no champion in this division?” he added.
This isn’t the first time Khabib has been rather pushy about his pupil getting a Lightweight title shot. Following Makhachev’s win over late replacement, Bobby Green, Khabib claimed Dana White had agreed to give Islam a title shot. Not so fast, though: after Makhachev turned down a last-minute fight against Rafael dos Anjos, White decided he’d have to fight No. 4-ranked Beneil Dariush to earn a title shot.
Asked at the UFC 274 post-fight press conference if he still intended to book Makhachev vs. Dariush, White said, “I do, but Joe Rogan just grabbed me in the hallway and told me not to.”
White refused to speculate on whether Oliveira would fight for the vacant Lightweight title in the meantime.
For his part, Makhachev is just moving forward with the assumption that everything would work out in his favor and he’d be fighting for the title in Abu Dhabi come October.
Congrats Charles and see you in AbuDhabi for vacant #UFC274— Makhachev Islam (@MAKHACHEVMMA) May 8, 2022
“Congrats Charles and see you in Abu Dhabi for vacant title,” he wrote.
How do you think this Lightweight logjam for the title is going to clear up, Maniacs?
For complete UFC 274: “Oliveira vs. Gaethje” results and play-by-play, click HERE.