After Kevin Lee’s dominant performance in Atlantic City Saturday night, the lightweight weight division has another legitimate contender for Khabib’s 155-pound title. So far the month of April has been a showcase for the lightweight division. Khabib won the belt on April 7th in the Barclays Center at UFC 223. Dustin Poirier beat Justin Gaethje in Arizona. Kevin Lee put his name back in the running for a title shot after his dominant performance against Edson Barboza Saturday night. With so many contenders in the lightweight division there’s no clear number 1 contender. It’s clear now that Tony Ferguson will be sidelined for a while, after he just underwent surgery to repair his LCL. Ferguson would obviously be the fight to make for Khabib’s first title defense, but that’s not going to happen anytime soon. So who’s going to receive the next title shot in the lightweight division? I have four legitimate contenders in mind.
Conor Mcgregor: This is the fight everyone wants to see. I don’t want to see Mcgregor box Floyd Mayweather in the octagon. I want to see Mcgregor standing across Khabib in the octagon fighting for the 155-pound title. Mark my words this would be the biggest fight in UFC history. Khabib has unbelievable wrestling and once he gets you to the ground all you can do is try to survive the rest of the round. All rounds start on the feet and Mcgregor has legitimate one punch knockout power at lightweight. Striking wise Khabib is nowhere near Conor’s level, but grappling wise Mcgregor is nowhere near Khabib’s level. The build up for this fight will be absolutely huge. The only problem is no one knows what’s going to happen with Mcgregor after the bus incident. He could be in serious legal trouble. If Mcgregor avoids any legal trouble this is the fight we’ll see.
Dustin Poirier: Dustin Poirier looked phenomenal in the octagon when he fought Justin Gaethje in Arizona. Poirier was hitting Gaethje with long combinations, which you don’t really see in MMA. Dustin Poirier has evolved so much in MMA and he’s truly deserving of a title shot. I have two concerns about Poirier. 1. How’s Dustin’s wrestling? I believe If Gaethje decided to wrestle in his fight against Poirier; Gaethje would of won in a decision. Can Dustin Poirier survive with a high level grappler like Khabib? Gaethje is going to try to make it a brawl and he rarely uses his wrestling. Khabib’s game plan is always the same, take you to the ground and break you. 2. Does Poirier have enough star power to headline a pay per view against Khabib? I’m not saying Poirier isn’t a draw, but compared to a guy like Mcgregor or even Kevin Lee he’s not as known. Plus when you look at it Poirier is probably the easiest matchup for Khabib when it comes to the top contenders in the lightweight division. I’m not saying Poirier doesn’t deserve his shot, because he absolutely does. I’m just saying I don’t think the UFC will make Khabib vs Poirier next.
Eddie Alvarez: Eddie is coming off a win against Justin Gaethje all the way back in December. Eddie has always remained at the top of the lightweight division but always gets over looked. Eddie has a ton of heart, but Eddie is also a high level wrestler. I think Poirier has surpassed Eddie when it comes to fighters who are most likely to get the next title shot. I do think Eddie Alvarez would have a better chance against Khabib. If Alvarez fights Khabib and looks as loose as he did against Justin Gaethje, I give Eddie Alvarez a legit chance to beat Khabib. Since Eddie Alvarez has been out of action since December I don’t see him getting the next title shot. I think the fight we should see next is a rematch between Alvarez and Poirier. The winner of that fight will no doubt get a title shot in the future.
Kevin Lee: In my own opinion I think you give the next title shot to Kevin Lee. If you look at his style it almost replicates Khabib’s style. Both Khabib and Lee are going to pressure you and give you no space. Eventually they’re taking the fight to the ground and they’re going to smother you with punches. Khabib isn’t going to take Kevin lee down as easy as the other opponents on this list. Kevin Lee is a legit wrestler and is just reaching the prime of his career now. Lee is well spoken and has the ability to hype up a fight. I think a fight between Khabib and Lee would be giant. If Lee beats Khabib, Lee has the ability to become a superstar in the UFC. If you look at all the fighters on this list the fighter with the best chance to beat Khabib is Kevin Lee.
The fight to make right now is Khabib vs Kevin Lee for the lightweight championship.