There are plenty of eyes on UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and his belt.
The Dagestan mauler hasn’t fought since capturing gold against Conor McGregor last October and he is now set to face interim lightweight champion Dustin Poirier at UFC 242 in September.
But the UFC lightweight division – one of the most competitive the sport has to offer – has only got stronger in Khabib’s absence and it’s something UFC president Dana White absolutely relishes.
“It’s a very interesting division because you have Khabib, you have Tony Ferguson, Conor McGregor, Donald Cerrone’s in the mix, Justin Gaethje – there’s just so many unbelievable fights in that weight class and Khabib keeps talking about fighting Georges St. Pierre again,” White told Rich Eiser (H/T MMA Fighting).
“St-Pierre retired but when St-Pierre retired, he retired basically saying I won’t if I can fight Khabib. So there’s so many different, crazy, interesting things that we can do at that weight class.”
Inevitably, Khabib’s arch-rival McGregor was brought up in conversation. Like Khabib, McGregor hasn’t featured in the Octagon since last October – his sole fight in the cage since 2016.
White believes McGregor will be returning to MMA in early 2020 and says a future rematch with Khabib is “absolutely possible.”
“It would be a massive fight and it’s absolutely possible, yes,” White said. “I think McGregor is gonna come back at the beginning of next year.
“So, realistically, all these guys are looking at September to see what happens with Khabib and Poirier. After that fight plays out, I think there’s gonna be a lot of movement going on.”
“To Conor’s credit and defense, you don’t see Conor running around filming movies. If you look at him – he’s in great shape, he’s staying in shape, he’s training, and he’s seeing how this thing plays out.”