What happens if Khabib or Poirier withdraw from UFC 242?
We are getting closer and closer to the UFC 242 event which will be held in Abu-Dhabi, United Arab Emirates on September 7th. In the main event of the evening, the undefeated Lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov is scheduled to defend his title against an interim champ Dustin Poirier (make sure to check out the matchup and predictions for this fight).
We all know that MMA fighters push themselves extremely hard in preparations for their bouts. No fighter is insured from getting a serious injury while training, random accidents or health issues related to cutting weight. Things like that could happen to anybody and it’s not impossible that Nurmagomedov or Poirier might pull out from UFC 242 event.
So the question is, what will happen if Khabib or Dustin won’t be able to fight on September 7 and one of them will have to withdraw for whatever reason? Who will be the one to step in and replace an injured fighter?
If Poirier withdraws
Unfortunately for “The Diamond”, in this case, he will lose a shot at the LW title – at least for a long while. He’ll be most likely stripped of the interim belt like Tony Ferguson was when he was meant to fight Khabib for the title at UFC 223 event. And we know that if it happens, from there it’s a long way to get back in line for the title fight unless your name is Conor McGregor. That’s why, I don’s see Poirier pulling out from UFC 242 with a minor/non-critical injury unless it’s something extreme to the point when he can’t physically fight.
Who will step in as a replacement for Dustin if something like that does happen prior to the Lightweight Championship bout in Abu-Dhabi? UFC’s boss Dana White recently mentioned Conor McGregor’s name as a substitute for this fight but realistically, there is no chance they would put Conor against Khabib as a replacement for Poirier.
On such a short notice there will be not enough time left to promote and make the most money out of it without a world tour/series of press-conferences. Khabib vs McGregor 2 in Abu-Dhabi and not at Madison Square Garden or Vegas? I highly doubt Dana White will even consider McGregor as a replacement for Poirier.
Tony Ferguson, on the other hand, should be the one to step in and fight Nurmagomedov if Dustin pulls out. Ferguson deserves a title fight like nobody else out there. “El Cucuy” is a former interim champ that beat half of the UFC’s Lightweight division and is on a 12-fight winning streak. I bet Ferguson won’t pass on an opportunity to finally square with Khabib even on a short notice. How ironic it would be if Khabib and Tony finally fought (they were set to fight 4 times and it never happened) because of an injury to another guy?
If Khabib withdraws
Even if Khabib will be out of the scheduled bout with Dustin Poirier, he’ll still remain as a Lightweight champion. We have an example in Robert Whittaker when he recently pulled twice and still remained as a champ – at UFC 221 (was scheduled to fight Luke Rockhold) and UFC 234 (Kelvin Gastelum).
Which means if anything happens to Khabib, this fight in Abu-Dhabi will be for the interim belt with a winner being next in line to face Nurmagomedov.
I almost 100% sure if Khabib withdraws from UFC 242, Conor McGregor will be the one to jump in on this opportunity to fight Poirier (if the Irishman avoids problems with the law and stays out of trouble).
Stylistically, Dustin is the best opponent for “The Notorious” from the top of the Lightweight division. And Dana White will be more than happy to give Conor a chance to “deserve” a rematch with Khabib. Tony Ferguson, in this case, will probably be screwed once again.
This is how we see things might play out if either Khabib Nurmagomedov or Dustin Poirier are going to be out of the upcoming Lightweight Championship bout at UFC 242 event. But let’s hope it will not come to that and we’ll see both guys in the octagon healthy and ready to go at their full potential!
Cheers to an exciting event in Abu-Dhabi ahead of us!