MMA Ratings Podcast

November 11, 2020

With McGregor vs. Poirier Official For UFC 257, Let's Match Up the Other Lightweight Contenders

By Adam Martin

The UFC is set to make it official that McGregor vs. Poirier 2 will headline the upcoming UFC 257 pay-per-view card in January. This fight has been rumored for quite some time now, but it finally appears that pen has been put to paper and this blockbuster headliner is done. With Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier now booked -- and with UFC Lightweight Champion Khabib Nurmagomedov currently in quasi-hiatus after announcing his retirement following his main event win over Justin Gaethje at UFC 254 -- it's time to match up the other top contenders in the UFC lightweight division.

Note: These matchups assume that McGregor, Poirier, and Nurmagomedov are unavailable.

Tony Ferguson vs. Michael Chandler

One big fight at lightweight that is being teased is Tony Ferguson vs. Michael Chandler. Ferguson is coming off of a TKO loss to Gaethje at UFC 249 but he's still one of the best fighters in the world. Chandler, meanwhile, is a former Bellator MMA champion who is looking to make a huge splash in his Octagon debut. The UFC spent a lot of money to sign Chandler away from Bellator, so he surely will get a high-profile opponent. He's been calling out Ferguson on social media, and I say give him the fight.

Justin Gaethje vs. Dan Hooker

Another great lightweight fight would pit former interim champ Justin Gaethje against Dan Hooker. These are two of the most exciting lightweights in the UFC, and both men are known to prefer standing and trading rather than grappling, so you know it's a "Fight of the Night" contender. Gaethje is coming off of a loss to Nurmagomedov and Hooker lost to Poirier, and there's no shame in losing to either guy. Hooker and Gaethje would put on an amazing fight for the fans. It's a no-brainer to book this one.

Charles Oliveira vs. Beneil Dariush

The UFC had tried to book Charles Oliveira vs. Beneil Dariush for an event in October but the fight fell apart. There was a lot of excitement when this matchup was announced, so I say the UFC should go ahead and re-book it when both guys are ready to go again. Oliveira is currently riding a seven-fight win streak while Dariush has won five straight, and both men have been finishing almost everyone in their path. This fight between two submission experts with improving striking skills would be a dynamite matchup for the fans, with the winner surely being in line to fight a top-five opponent next.

Islam Makhachev vs. winner of Rafael dos Anjos-Paul Felder

Islam Makhachev is one of the top young fighters at 155 lbs and with six straight wins in the UFC, he was due for a high-profile opponent. Makhachev was to fight Rafael dos Anjos at this weekend's UFC Fight Night card in Las Vegas, but had to withdraw due to illness. This came after their previously-booked fight at UFC 254 was canceled after RDA tested positive for COVID-19. Fortunately, the UFC was able to call upon top-10 ranked Paul Felder to step in on short notice and fight RDA this weekend. But whenever Makhachev is able to return to action, it seems sensible to match him up with the winner of this fight.

With the amount of incredibly-talented contenders in the UFC lightweight division, you honestly can't go wrong matching up any of these top-10 fighters. I believe the matchups I suggested make a lot of sense as far as the rankings go, and they would be a lot of fun to watch,. But if you have different suggestions, please leave a comment with fights that you would rather see booked instead.

UFC 257
Conor McGregor vs. Dustin Poirier

UFC Fight Night
Rafael dos Anjos vs. Paul Felder

UFC Fight Night: Felder vs. Dos Anjos (formerly UFC Fight Night: Makhachev vs. Dos Anjos) takes place November 14, 2020 at UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Click HERE for more UFC Fight Night Analysis

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