If we ask Dana White or the organization, who is the current UFC Lightweight Champion? They would answer Khabib Nurmagomedov, which is a disrespect for the other contenders. Khabib, himself stated that he retired and is willing to vacate the belt, yet the UFC is still pushing him as the current champion.
If we look at Henry Cejudo’s MMA career, he had similarities with Khabib’s situation. Cejudo was at the top of his game when he retired but a week later his title was vacated. It just shows how valuable Khabib is compared to Cejudo in terms of UFC’s perspective. It also shows unequal treatment among the fighters.
In the buildup of UFC 257, Dana White has teased Khabib of returning as well, saying that the Poirier vs McGregor rematch is looking to surpass UFC 229. He then whispered to Khabib of how much money a rematch with McGregor could generate.
Unfortunately, Dustin Poirier spoiled the plans of White and knocked McGregor out. Then in the post fight press conference, Dana White had said that he has moved on with Khabib returning, whatever his decision is, he is willing to accept it.
Then Dana White changed his mind saying he will try his best to persuade Khabib to return once. Khabib will be cornering his teammates so Dana White has a lot of opportunities of meeting the champion.
It is unfair for fighters like Charles Oliveira since he is only willing to fight for the belt for his next fight. If he does this, he has no choice but to wait out the division and if he it takes long it will affect his career.
The best option for the UFC would be vacate Khabib of the belt, and have the top lightweights fight for the vacant belt. Dustin Poirier vs Charles Oliveira makes the most sense since they are on a win streak and beat top contenders as well.
If Khabib does plan to return, he could get an immediate title shot. It is a win-win scenario for both parties. The UFC should move on from Khabib, but could just leave the door open if he wants to return as well.