Khabib Nurmagomedov believes Dustin Poirier will beat Conor McGregor AND Charles Oliveira to become UFC lightweight champ
Khabib Nurmagomedov believes Dustin Poirier will be the next UFC lightweight champion ‘within the year’.
The Russian retired from fighting after UFC 254 where he choked out Justin Gaethje, sending the 155lbs division into a free-for-all.
Poirier knocked out Conor McGregor at UFC 257 and was expected to challenge for the vacant title, yet instead will fight ‘The Notorious’ for a third time at UFC 264.
Instead, it was Charles Oliveira and Michael Chandler who fought for the belt at UFC 262, ending in a stoppage victory for the Brazilian.
Yet the presence of the former champion still looms large over the division, with Khabib admitting he never saw Chandler as a viable champion and commended Oliveira for his win.
“He seems to have eight wins in a row,” Khabib told Sport 24. “So many early finishes.
“As I remember, only against Tony Ferguson did he have a full fight. I think Oliveira is a very worthy champion. Many finishes, many records in the UFC.
“It would be a shame if Michael Chandler won. Two fights in the UFC and already a champion? That would somehow be wrong.
“And Charles Oliveira has progressed very much. This is a worthy champion. I’m glad for him.”
Yet despite the success of newly crowned champion Do Bronx, Khabib feels as though Poirier is the best lightweight in the world and will prove it in the not too distant future.
With protégé Islam Makhachev rapidly rising up the ranks, ‘The Eagle’ believes Poirier will beat McGregor for a second time and then will hold the belt by the time Makhachev reaches the pinnacle.
“But when Islam Makhachev rises in the rankings, Oliveira will no longer be champion,” Khabib continued.
“The main thing is that Oliveira should understand my words correctly. I respect him, he is a worthy champion.
“But when Islam will go up, there will be another champion within the year. In my eyes it will be Dustin Poirier.”