It’s official: Khabib Nurmagomedov is retired.
Okay, he’s been saying he’s done since he defeated Justin Gaethje last October, but UFC president Dana White finally gave up the ghost and conceded that Nurmagomedov won’t be fighting again and thus the lightweight title is now up for grabs.
29-0 it is.
He is officially retired. It was incredible to watch you work @TeamKhabib thank you for EVERYTHING and enjoy whatever is next my friend. pic.twitter.com/QeoSP12zw2
— danawhite (@danawhite) March 19, 2021
So who’s getting the vacant title shot? Well those honors belong to former Bellator lightweight champ Michael Chandler and Charles Oliveira, who have agreed to fight on May 15th at UFC 262. ESPN’s Brett Okamoto broke the news on Thursday night.
Chandler (22-5) entered the UFC having won his final two Bellator MMA bouts by first-round KO. His Octagon debut against Dan Hooker could not have gone any better, as he stopped Hooker in just 2:30 at UFC 257 in January. There was plenty of hype given his decorated Bellator career and now he has the opportunity to join his old rival Eddie Alvarez in becoming a UFC champion after previously holding the Bellator crown.
Oliveira (30-8, 1 NC) is on an eight-fight winning streak and will finally get his first ever UFC title shot. ‘Do Bronx’ is coming off a dominant unanimous decision over former interim champ Tony Ferguson at UFC 256, and preceding that contest was a third-round submission of Kevin Lee. He’s known for his dangerous grappling but his KOs of Nik Lentz and Jared Gordon have showcased his power in his vastly improved striking.
So we have Chandler vs. Oliveira, presumably Poirier vs. McGregor 3, and of course Justin Gaethje is always lurking in the title picture. The lightweight division is getting a move on and Khabib can hopefully retire in peace.
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