On Saturday night at UFC 254, Khabib Nurmagomedov established his spot among the sport’s all-time greats with a submission victory over Justin Gaethje. Shortly after, he surprised the entire world by announcing his retirement from the sport at 32 years of age and a win-loss record of 29-0.
After many of his peers sent their well-wishes to “The Eagle,” the UFC’s elite 155-pounders are looking to move forward. With the vacancy left by Khabib’s departure, former Bellator champion and new signee Michael Chandler is now suggesting a possible four-man tournament to determine who belongs to the coveted spot atop the lightweight ladder.
The names he mentioned including his own: Conor McGregor, Dustin Poirier, and Tony Ferguson.
McGregor— UFC on BT Sport (@btsportufc) October 25, 2020
Ferguson @MikeChandlerMMA wants to see a four-man tournament to decide the next UFC lightweight champion pic.twitter.com/d5lt2cy0Fg
“Let’s be honest. I’m the new guy,” Chandler told BT Sport after UFC 254. “I’m not gonna come in and say, ‘hey guys. I deserve a title shot.’ I’d love my name to be thrown into the mix, I’d love the opportunity to fight in a four-man tournament for that title. There’s all kinds of different things that the UFC could do.”
But as talks about such options begin to make its rounds online, Khabib’s manager Ali Abdelaziz is pumping the brakes. Abdelaziz issued his response to the said tourney suggestion in a short tweet.
There’s no vacant title here https://t.co/LPisktVZ7B— Ali Abdelaziz (@AliAbdelaziz00) October 25, 2020
Khabib’s retirement also put an end to the much-hyped super fight against Georges St-Pierre, which the former two-division champion will no longer try to pursue.