Who will Khabib fight next after Dustin Poirier?
The undefeated UFC Lightweight champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov, will face an interim champ Dustin Poirier at UFC 242 event in Abu-Dhabi on September 7, 2019.
Nurmagomedov recently signed a new multi-fight deal with the UFC, which is believed to be a contract at least for 3 fights. The first one is ahead of us against Poirier, the second one is up in the air and the last one could be a legacy fight against Georges St.-Pierre.
There are so many options and possible scenarios on who will “The Eagle” fight next depending on the outcome of Khabib vs Poirier. Let’s take a closer look and try to play a guessing game on who will be Khabib’s next opponent after Dustin Poirier.
If Khabib beats Poirier
Khabib vs Ferguson
The most obvious and anticipated fight to make next is Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Tony Ferguson. Ferguson long deserved to fight for the belt with his 12-fight winning streak and impressive recent performances against Anthony Pettis and Donald Cerrone. He seems like the only guy in the Lightweight division with realistic chances to beat Nurmagomedov.
The only problem with Khabib vs Ferguson fight is that it was already booked 4 times (!) and every time either Khabib or Tony pulled. What happens if Dana books this fight for the 5th time and it won’t happen again? The reputation of the organization is on the line here and if I were in Dana White’s shoes, I wouldn’t risk booking Khabib vs Ferguson fight ever again (especially considering Tony’s personal/mental health issues on top of the risk of the injuries).
Will see what UFC decides after all but either way it’s going to be a tough decision to make – to take a risk by booking Khabib vs Ferguson or dump Tony once again.
Khabib vs McGregor 2
A rematch between Nurmagomedov and McGregor is not out of the question after Khabib’s fight with Poirier. Conor, who is usually the one to turn down fights, was actually asking for a rematch with “The Eagle” since they faced each other in their first bout. Khabib is, on the other hand, at the moment has no interest in fighting McGregor unless “The Notorious” fights his way back to the title fight.
Either way, there is a lot of uncertainty about McGregor’s future. He is currently retired from the UFC, he turns down fights and doesn’t want to fight anybody besides Khabib… But we also know that McGregor most of the time ends up getting what he wants from Dana that’s why I do believe there is still a good chance we will see Khabib vs McGregor 2 in the near future.
Keep in mind, there is a possibility Conor will make a “surprise” appearance at UFC 242 in Abu-Dhabi and who knows what it will lead to (possibly another brawl between Khabib and McGregor).
Khabib vs Nate Diaz
I think there is a good chance we are going to see Khabib vs Nate Diaz fight next if:
1) Nate beats Anthony Pettis at UFC 241;
2) Ferguson won’t get a fight with Khabib (for any reason).
Nurmagomedov vs Diaz will definitely attract a lot of attention and will be big “money fight”. Both fighters previously showed some interest in this fight and there were a few times when we heard some rumors about negotiations between Khabib and Nate.
Gladly for Dana White, there is an ongoing conflict and volatile history between Nurmagomedov and Diaz. A few years ago in 2015, Khabib and Nate got into a physical altercation at a World Series of Fighting event. Most recently at UFC 239 event, Nurmagomedov and Diaz clashed outside of the Octagon once again (they were seated a few rows apart from each other in the audience).
There is definitely some potential here for Khabib vs Diaz fight even though Nate technically shouldn’t be in the picture to face the undefeated champ. I do want to see Khabib vs Ferguson but I wouldn’t mind if UFC books Khabib vs Diaz instead. It will probably be a lot more entertaining and fun to follow pre-fight interviews and their press-conferences.
Khabib vs Georges St.-Pierre
It is highly unlikely that Khabib and GSP’s fight will be booked next after UFC 242 event. Like St.-Pierre said in one of the interviews, “it takes three people to make a fight – the two fighters and the organization”. In this case, both Khabib and Georges want this fight but Dana White is not so thrilled about this idea (and he has a legit reason for that), at least not at this point in time.
It doesn’t mean Nurmagomedov vs St.-Pierre fight will never happen – in fact, I think it’s very much possible, for example, as Khabib’s very last fight before his retirement. From the words of Dana White about GSP fight, “if I get into a position where Khabib the champ wants it bad enough, weʼre gonna have to talk about it”. This statement definitely gives us hope that at some point, hopefully soon (because GSP is already 38), we will see this legendary fight between two of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the MMA.
If Khabib loses to Poirier
Dustin Poirier is a heavy underdog in this matchup against the undefeated champion. We know that nothing is impossible in the UFC and there is always a chance doesn’t matter who your opponent is. There is always a chance that your opponent might not be in the best shape going into the fight, has an injury or simply makes a huge mistake as Ben Askren did against Masvidal when he got KO’d with flying knee within the first 5 seconds of the fight.
I personally don’t see Khabib losing to Poirier unless he makes an extreme mistake or Dustin does something extraordinary. But if it does happen, it will completely change the whole picture in the Lightweight division. The most likely outcome then would be a rematch between Nurmagomedov and Poirier or who knows, Khabib might even decide to retire earlier than planned.
Once again, your opinion is always welcomed in the comments below this post. Let me know what you guys think about Khabib’s next fight and your predictions for the near future of the Lightweight division as a whole.