Former UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov is happy that Charles Oliveira won the title he vacated, but doesn’t see him holding onto that gold for long.
Oliveira, currently riding a nine-fight win streak, rallied to knock out Michael Chandler in a come-from-behind victory at UFC 262 earlier in May – becoming a UFC champion for the first time after close to 11 years with the promotion.
“Charles Oliveira is a very worthy champion,” Nurmagomedov said in an interview with Russian media. “Many finishes, many records in the UFC.
“It would be a shame if Michael Chandler [had] won. Two fights and already a champion in the UFC? Somehow that would be wrong.”
While Nurmagomedov is seemingly impressed with Oliveira’s run and win over former Bellator champion Chandler, he expects it will be Dustin Poirier who is UFC lightweight champion by the end of the year.
After that, he believes his friend and teammate Islam Makhachev who will ultimately prevail to become the king of the UFC’s 155-pound division.
“When Islam Makhachev reaches the top of the rankings, Charles ‘do Bronx’ wont be the champion anymore,” Nurmagomedov said. “I hope Charles understands my words. I really respect him – he deserves that belt.
“But when Makachev’s time has come, I believe Dustin will be the champion and it will happen this year.”
Of course, Poirier has a big fight ahead of him – one he would need to win to have any chance of becoming the undisputed UFC lightweight champion.
Former interim UFC lightweight titleholder Poirier will face ex-two division champion Conor McGregor at UFC 264 in July for their trilogy bout.
Poirier avenged his 2014 defeat to McGregor by scoring a second-round TKO win over the Irishman in January at UFC 257.