“The Diamond” and Justin Gaethje are scheduled to headline UFC 291 in Salt Lake City, Utah, on July 29. For the second time, the BMF — which stands for “Baddest Motherf*****” — belt will be contended for. Jorge Masvidal and Nate Diaz dueled for the strap in November 2019 at UFC 244 and Masvidal came out on top via doctor’s stoppage.
“Gamebred” retired from mixed martial arts in April 2023 after suffering his fourth consecutive defeat since winning the BMF title. Since his belt was never put on the line in any of his contests, he was still considered the BMF champ by the promotion. But with him walking away from Octagon, it became vacant.
Enter Poirier and Gaethje — two of the most popular action fighters in sports. But, the fight isn’t just about the BMF strap. According to the official UFC standings, Poirier is ranked No. 2 at 155 pounds and “The Highlight” sits at No. 3. With an impressive win, the Diamond or Gaethje could solidify themselves as Makhachev’s next opponent.
Islam Makhachev Has No Desire to Fight for the BMF Strap
Well, don’t expect Makhachev to care about claiming the victor’s BMF belt as his own.
“If Dustin Poirier beats Justin Gaethje, and he’s gonna fight next for the lightweight title, he’s gonna come with [the] BMF title?” Makhachev asked while speaking with Daniel Cormier in a video posted to “DC’s” YouTube channel on June 12. “He’s going to come to Abu Dhabi with BMF title?”
“I don’t want this s***,” Makhachev continued. “BMF, what is this?
“This belt’s for the bums. First time who fought for this belt? [Masvidal] and Nate Diaz — the people who never can be champion, you know? They give him some belt. Guys, ‘Be happy, fight for BMF.’”
Although nothing is official, it’s been largely speculated that Makhachev’s second title defense will take place in October at the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi. Makhachev could serve as the headlining act against the winner of UFC 291’s main event. Or, the promotion may elect to grant Charles Oliveira an opportunity to win back his old belt.
Oliveira, who Makhachev defeated in October to become the 155-pound king, recently bounced back in a big way. He fought No. 4 Beneil Dariush during the UFC 289 co-main event on June 10, and “Do Bronx” left the cage with a first-round TKO win.
Dustin Poirier & Justin Gaethje Have Both Tried to Become the Undisputed UFC Lightweight Champion Twice
Even though both Poirier and The Highlight have held interim gold, they’ve never been the undisputed lightweight champion. Poirier sought to unify the title against Khabib Nurmagomedov in 2019 after winning the interim strap earlier that year. However, “The Eagle” took him out during the third round of their main event match at UFC 242.
Fast forward two years and The Diamond once again vied for the title. He drew Oliveira and was finished via rear-naked choke in the third round of their UFC 269 headlining tilt in December 2021.
Like Poirier, Gaethje’s first opportunity to earn unified gold came when he was the interim champion. He fought Nurmagomedov in October 2020 at UFC 254 and the fight was over within the first two rounds after The Eagle sunk in a triangle choke.
Gaethje then looked to defeat Oliveira to claim the 155-pound championship, but he was bested via first-round rear-naked choke at UFC 274 in May 2022.