A Massive Lightweight Showdown is Set to Go Down… ‘Blessed’ is Set to Make the Step Up to 155lbs to Take on The Diamond in Atlanta in April…
With Khabib Nurmagamedov resolute in his determination to sit on the sidelines until next November, the picture at the top of the UFC lightweight division has been a muddy one. Now though, the UFC has moved to clear it up by setting up an interim title fight at UFC 236. Yep. Another one.
Featherweight champion Max Holloway is set to move up a division to fight at 155lbs for the first time, in the UFC, against his former opponent Dustin Poirier. The winner will then presumably fight Khabib Nurmagamedov when he eventually returns – however as Colby Covington and Tony Ferguson found out, it doesn’t always work out well for the interim champ.
Ferguson, the former interim champion has presumably turned down the chance to fight for an interim title again. It’s going to be fascinating to see what happens next.
One thing is for sure: WME-IMG love an interim fight. There have been more fake titles in a couple of years since they took over than during the entire reign of the Fertitta brothers. In fairness, this time it is justified as Khabib’s future remains uncertain. Something needed to give.
Max Holloway has undoubted star potential. ‘Blessed’ is riding a 13 fight win streak. He has fought Dustin Poirier before, on his promotional debut back in 2012. On that night he was submitted by ‘The Diamond,’ but has evolved tremendously since then to become one of the most dominant fighters on the roster. An oversized featherweight, UFC President Dana White has made it no secret that he wants him to move up to a more natural weight.
I can make 145
— Tony Ferguson (@TonyFergusonXT) February 23, 2019
This is a massive opportunity for Dustin Poirier to finally break out and earn a title shot. Since his move up to lightweight, he’s been a changed athlete and his boxing skills have developed too. He last fought in July, stopping former champion Eddie Alvarez. That made it three straight finishes and extended his winning streak to five.
On paper, Tony Ferguson was ahead of him in the pecking order for a title shot. ‘El Cucuy’ has done more than anybody else to stake his claim, but clearly has some grievances with the UFC. He actually suggested a move down to featherweight, tweeting:
“I can make 145.”
— Tony Ferguson (@TonyFergusonXT) February 21, 2019
Arguably the biggest name missing from this picture is Conor McGregor. It would have been very easy for the promotion to have given ‘The Notorious’ a chance to get a belt back over his shoulder, but thankfully they’ve seen sense and decided against it.
He’s been heavily linked to a fight against Donald Cerrone, but could he be tempted to take on Ferguson? ‘El Cucuy’ blasted the Irishman’s whiskey on Twitter, writing:
“Jameson is Better Kid. @TheNotoriousMMA Just A Replica #properbs #snapintuit x SnapJitsuTM”
What a fight this would be.