With Khabib retiring, the Lightweight belt is vacant once more. Although according to the UFC rankings website, Khabib is still the champion. Dana White is also hinting that Khabib will come back to finish his career as 30-0. Before his announcement of retiring, Khabib has shown interest in a super mega-fight against welterweight GOAT George St Pierre.
True hardcore MMA fans always wanted Khabib to fight Tony Ferguson. It was booked 5 times and both fighters have pulled out of the fight every time. Many fans believe this to be the cursed fight that all MMA fans want to see. In terms of Khabib’s perspective, beating GSP who is arguably the MMA GOAT can solidify himself as the GOAT. In terms of money or business, Mcgregor is the obvious choice. No other fighter can generate as much money as Conor Mcgregor. The news so far is that Khabib is retired but some fans are still longing for the undefeated champ to return one more time. No other fighter in history has shown flawless fights in their career than Khabib. He is the most dominant champion in UFC history by far. It is worth noting that Khabib has beaten 3 of the current top 5 lightweights.
The current top 5 LW contenders now have a chance to be the champion. The top 4 contenders are either a former LW Champion or a former interim LW Champion. Mcgregor has a chance to be a two-time undisputed LW Champion. He is going to fight Dustin Poirier in January. UFC has not yet announced if it will be for the vacant title or just a main event fight. Mcgregor has also shown that he has plans to fight Manny Pacquiao in the near future and has said that fighting Dustin could prepare him since both fighters are a southpaw. Conor already beat Dustin during his featherweight title run but since then Dustin has shown to have improved a lot in his overall game. It would be a guaranteed banger fight.
The next contender would have to be Tony Ferguson. He recently called out newly-signed fighter Michael Chandler for a fight. Chandler has shown interests prior in an interview that the only fights he wants are either against Gaethje or Ferguson. It would make sense for him to accept it since it would potentially skyrocket him in the rankings if he wins. In terms of stylistically, Tony Ferguson is one of the most difficult people to prepare for due to his unpredictability. Tony Ferguson is known for his endurance and durability. He also trains under Eddie Bravo for his BJJ. His signature submission is the D’arce choke which he might use against a wrestler like Chandler. The most recent fight of Chandler was in Bellator, when he knocked out former UFC LW Champion, Benson Henderson. He has shown to have good wrestling and overall heart. This would be a more entertaining fight compared to Mcgregor vs Poirier in my opinion.
The only fighters left in the top 5 rankings are Gaethje and Hooker. Both fighters are coming from a loss and need a win to get back to title contention. Though they are both top 5, there are still worthy contenders below them. Charles Oliveira is on a winning streak and is still improving. Another fighter is Rafael Dos Anjos who just recently went back down. Dos Anjos is also a former LW Champion by beating Anthony Pettis. Lightweight Division might be the most entertaining division in the UFC right now due to the talents and the big names. My pick in matchmaking would be Gaethje vs Oliviera and RDA vs Hooker. It makes the most sense in terms of rankings and comparing their last fight. We will need to tune in for future UFC fights.