UFC fans are still reeling from the top of the card at UFC 257 last night. Michael Chandler dazzled with a quick TKO victory over Dan Hooker in his debut, cementing him as a serious player at 155 pounds after just one fight in the promotion. Had it not been for the main event, it would be the talk of the MMA world this afternoon. Instead, Dustin Poirier knocked out Conor McGregor in the second round of their rematch and sent the MMA world into chaos. Well, maybe not chaos, many expected Dustin to do just what he did, and with the perfect game plan he came in with, we should have all seen that coming. So, what is next for the UFC lightweight division? We have some ideas.
— George Balekji (@GeorgeBalekji) January 24, 2021
UFC Lightweight Division Is Not Too Much Of A Mess Actually
Obviously, Khabib Nurmagomedov needs to vacate the title. After last night, Dana White said Khabib said this after the fights last night: "Be honest with yourself, I'm so many levels above these guys." He currently holds victories over Poirier and Conor both. He needs to do, like he said this week, and not hold up the division. Once he does, then the UFC can book Poirier in a title fight with either Chandler, Conor for a trilogy fight (which both hinted at being interest in after the card last night) or Charles Oliveria, who is on an eight-fight win streak. What should they do? Well, the money fight is a trilogy between Conor and Dustin. They are even now, and trilogies sell fights. Even with the KO last night, Conor is still the biggest money-maker in the sport, without question. He will sell fights no matter what.
What they SHOULD do is pair him for the trilogy fight with Nate Diaz. Nate hasn't fought since November 2019 now, but the two also are even at 1-1. This way, they can have their money fight while setting up some interesting fights for the vacant title. I would put Chandler in there with Justin Gaethje, with the winner getting a title opportunity. The title fight to me is Poirier against Oliveria. Poirier was adamant last night about Chandler not being able to leapfrog the people in the division who have already earned their shot, and nobody has put in more work than Oliviera to get to where they are in the UFC lightweight division.
After a long time of everyone looking up, there is no longer a logjam at the top of the division anymore. It should be exciting to watch it all play out over the next year or so.