The lightweight division took centre stage at UFC 242 in Abu Dhabi, and did not disappoint.
Khabib Nurmagomedov became the unified champion with his third round stoppage of Dustin Poirier, while there were standout wins for Paul Felder, Islam Makchev and Diego Ferreira.
On the back of a thrilling night of results, here are the fights to make next:
KHABIB NURMAGOMEDOV V TONY FERGUSON
This one is hardly rocket science – it is the only fight that can be made. Attempts have failed in the past but with both fighters now on 12-fight win streaks in the UFC, and the dominant forces in the division, it’s not up for debate anyone. Khabib may want a break, but expect this one early in 2020.
DUSTIN POIRIER V THE WINNER OF JUSTIN GAETHJE V DONALD CERRONE
Even in defeat, Poirier confirmed himself as one of the division’s premier talents and he will be looking to get back on the horse pretty soon. Next weekend sees fourth and fifth ranked lightweights Cerrone and Gaethje go at it – and the winner taking on Poirier would be a mouth-watering prospect.
There is another name that could be thrown in the mix – Conor McGregor. For someone who hasn’t won a fight at 155lbs in the four years he certainly likes to keep his name in the conversation at the top of the division. If he is serious about a UFC return Poirier could be the man to welcome him.
PAUL FELDER V THE LOSER OF JUSTIN GAETHJE AND DONALD CERRONE
The emotion felt from Felder in avenging his previous loss to Edson Barboza was clear for all to see – as was his desire to continue climbing the lightweight ranks. He will move up from his current tenth position in the rankings, and a follow up win over either Gaethje or Cerrone would do nothing to harm his chances of breaking into the top five.
ISLAM MAKHACHEV V KEVIN LEE
Makchev looked slick in defeating Davi Ramos and will be looking to set himself as a genuine top-10 contender. Lee may not be the name on everyone’s list, but this would work stylistically with plenty on the line for both men.
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