The UFC lightweight championship is currently vacant, thanks to a recent scale fail by ex-champion Charles Oliveira, but the promotion is expected to book “Do Bronx” against No. 4-ranked title contender Islam Makhachev at some point later this year.
Unless featherweight champion Alex Volkanovski throws a wrench into those plans.
Oliveira is on his way to replacing retired titleholder Khabib Nurmagomedov as the division’s most dominant champion but that feat alone may not be enough to convince the 33 year-old “Eagle” to abandon his budding sheep farm.
“If Charles beats Makhachev, I truly believe that Khabib would return to avenge him,” former American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) jiu jistu coach Leandro Vieira told Sherdog.com.
And while he's there, Nurmagomedov can follow the Kamaru Usman blueprint and skip a few weight classes to secure a second world strap by defeating current 185-pound titleholder Israel Adesanya.
“Definitely Khabib has the recipe,” Vieira said. “He is technically and mentally superior to Adesanya. From what I’ve seen him doing in the academy, I have to agree with Ali (Abdelaziz).”
Nurmagomedov and Makhachev — both from Dagestan — have a longstanding relationship inside and outside the gym. “The Eagle” is currently harassing UFC President Dana White in hopes of getting the Oliveira fight booked; however, nothing is official at this time.
Expect an announcement in the next couple of weeks, if not sooner.
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