Khabib Nurmagomedov secured the 29th straight win of his career a week ago and hung up his fighting gloves for good.
In an emotional after-fight speech following his submission of Justin Gaethje in the Second Round at UFC 254 with the triangle chokehold, Khabib said he was retiring from MMA. 'The Eagle' said he did not want to continue fighting without his father, Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, who passed away earlier this year due to coronavirus-related problems.
However, the Lightweight title that Khabib currently holds is still not officially vacated. If Khabib stays retired like he said he will, UFC will be expected to book a title fight soon to crown the new titleholder for the 155-pound division.
Speaking with Ariel Helwani on Ariel & The Bad Guy, Chael Sonnen said that the new Champion will either be Conor McGregor or Tony Ferguson.
Chael Sonnen: Conor McGregor vs. Tony Ferguson will decide the Lightweight Champion
Ariel Helwani asked Chael Sonnen on the show that who he thinks is fighting for the Lightweight title next.
"That would be Conor McGregor and that would be Tony Ferguson."
However, Chael Sonnen also said that the next bouts of Conor McGregor and Tony Ferguson respectively, are not likely to be title fights. He added that what he was suggesting is a long shot because it obviously makes more sense for UFC to put the belt on the line as soon as possible.
"If I call it, it'll be a long shot. It makes all the sense in the world to just put the belt up there.
Ariel Helwani pointed it out right away that such a prediction does not make any sense unless Chael Sonnen had more insider knowledge than he was letting on.
The next Lightweight bout is likely to be in around three months from now, on January 23rd, and it happens to feature Dustin Poirier against Conor McGregor, "the biggest draw in the history of the game", as Ariel Helwani put it. Both Dana White and Conor McGregor confirmed that the matchup was final, although it is yet to be made official.
Since UFC historically does not like to have vacated titles, it does not makes any sense to let this fight be a non-title bout, according to Helwani. He further urged Chael Sonnen to come out with it if he knew more about the future Championship bout.
Chael Sonnen said he would have if he had actually known.Published 30 Oct 2020, 21:05 IST