The date of April 15th wasn’t only the day that Dustin Poirier delivered Justin Gaethje his second loss, but he also made a bold call out by challenging the new Lightweight champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov. Since inking his newest UFC contract, Nurmagomedov has recorded ten consecutive victories within the UFC.
Poirier didn’t have a successful run at the Featherweight division, but has been taking out lightweight fighters left and right. Based on the tape, his striking and ground game is up there with the best in the business.
Similar to a streak from former Middleweight champion, Chris Weidman, who defeated the legendary Anderson Silva twice in stunning fashion, Poirier is chasing for a major upset. If he learns the skill set in order to end Nurmagomedov’s reign, he could turn himself into a household name.
Khabib Nurmagomedov is quite possibly the most popular fighter (minus Conor McGregor) within the lightweight division. Essentially, “The Eagle” has dominated almost every opponent in order to prove his case of being the best fighter on the planet.
As I mentioned, Poirier had left the featherweight division after a loss to Conor McGregor, but has experienced success in the lightweight division with wins over Yancy Medeiros, Joseph Duffy, Bobby Green, Jim Miller, and Anthony Pettis. In fact, his only losses within the lightweight division come from Michael Johnson, as well as a “no contest” ruling to Eddie Alvarez.
When Poirier initially stated that he wanted to fight for the lightweight title, fans felt it would be nearly impossible due to the inactivity from the former champion, McGregor. On the other hand, now that Nurmagomedov is champion, this bout becomes a lot more realistic. This fight can hopefully put up headlines, as both fighters have experienced brilliance within the octagon. To take it even further, this fight would be expected to be near the top of the list when it comes to the greatest bouts in UFC history.
Pressure makes diamonds, while wrestling bears makes you unstoppable. The year of 2018 has started off well for the UFC, and we still have a long way to go. As the months pass on, so will the select main events. By the end of the year, could we witness a bout between Nurmagomedov and Poirier?
Image from Esther Lin, MMA Fighting