Fighting superstar Conor McGregor may find himself fighting for a UFC title sooner than anticipated. “Notorious,” who has held the UFC lightweight and featherweight title simultaneously, has the opportunity to insert his name into the championship picture in the lightweight division.
Current lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov unified the title on Saturday, defeating interim champ Justin Gaethje by second-round submission in the main event of UFC 254. During his post-fight interview with commentator Jon Anik, “The Eagle” revealed he was retiring from mixed martial arts.
With Nurmagomedov leaving his gloves inside the Octagon, the lightweight title will likely become vacant in the coming weeks. McGregor, who is ranked No. 4 in the division, may try to seize the opportunity and campaign for a spot in the match to earn the belt.
The Irishman has been linked to a fight with No. 2 ranked Dustin Poirier on January 23, 2021, and the UFC may decide to make that match for the lightweight title. From a rankings standpoint, a strong argument can be made for the fight between Notorious and “The Diamond” being for the belt.
No. 1 ranked Gaethje and No. 3 ranked Tony Ferguson are both coming off losses. Poirier is a former interim lightweight champ and McGregor was a two-division champ, and as both fighters are massive names in the promotion, it shouldn’t shock fans to see either Poirier or McGregor as the next lightweight champion.
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McGregor Has Not Fought at Lightweight Since Losing to Nurmagomedov
Although McGregor is in the top-five of the lightweight division, the Irishman has not competed in the weight class since October 2018. The last time McGregor weighed in for 155 pounds was when he fought Nurmagomedov for the lightweight title in the main event of UFC 229.
Notorious and “The Eagle” fought in one of the most anticipated grudge matches in UFC history and they set a record for the most pay-per-view buys in the promotion’s history. The fight was an exciting affair, and after four rounds, The Eagle emerged as the victor via neck crank.
After the loss, McGregor took a 15-month hiatus from the Octagon and returned in January to fight Donald Cerrone in a welterweight bout at UFC 246. Notorious dominated the match, winning by TKO in only 40 seconds.
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UFC 254 Fight Card & Results
Saturday’s UFC 254 featured 12 bouts, including the main event with Nurmagomedov vs. Gaethje. In the co-main event, a top contender bout took place between middleweights Robert Whittaker and Jared Cannonier.
Whittaker won the match by unanimous decision and has set himself for a potential rematch with current middleweight champ Israel Adesanya. See the full fight card and results below:
Lightweight Bout: Khabib Nurmagomedov def. Justin Gaethje via Second-Round Triangle Choke
Middleweight Bout: Robert Whittaker def. Jared Cannonier via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Heavyweight Bout: Alexander Volkov def. Walt Harris via Second-Round TKO
Middleweight Bout: Phil Hawes def. Jacob Malkoun via First-Round KO
Women’s Flyweight Bout: Lauren Murphy def. Liliya Shakirova via Second-Round Rear-Naked Choke
Light Heavyweight Bout: Magomed Ankalaev def. Ion Cuțelaba via First-Round KO
Heavyweight Bout: Tai Tuivasa def. Stefan Struve via First-Round KO
140-Pound Catchweight Bout: Casey Kenney def. Nathaniel Wood via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
173-Pound Catchweight Bout: Shavkat Rakhmonov def. Alex Oliveira via First-Round Guillotine Choke
Light Heavyweight Bout: Da Un Jung vs. Sam Alvey Determined a Draw (29-28, 28-29, 28-28)
Early Preliminary Card
Women’s Flyweight Bout: Miranda Maverick def. Liana Jojua via First-Round TKO
159.5-Pound Catchweight Bout: Joel Álvarez def. Alexander Yakovlev via First-Round Armbar