Reigning UFC Lightweight Champion Khabib Nurmagomedov announced his retirement following his successful title defense against Justin Gaethje at UFC 254 over the weekend.
With Nurmagomedov calling it quits, the UFC’s 155-pound title is expected to be up for grabs, and Costa believes that former champ Conor McGregor is the likely successor.
"Conor has the free way to get the belt now," Costa said in a tweet.
While Costa believes that the Irish superstar might have an easy route to the title, the division’s other contenders may have something to say about the matter.
Apart from McGregor, who’s currently ranked as the #4 lightweight contender, names like #2-ranked Dustin Poirier and #3-ranked Tony Ferguson are also frontrunners for the crown. Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier recently verbally agreed to a rematch in December, and both have fallen victim to Nurmagomedov in the past.
Ferguson, meanwhile, has been named as the fighter most likely to welcome former Bellator champion Michael Chandler - who’s also a contender - to the UFC. While he just lost his shot at the title, Gaethje will also probably be in the conversation when it comes to lightweight title contenders.
Costa himself is coming off a failed title bid, as he was stopped in less than two rounds by reigning middleweight champion Israel Adesanya at UFC 253 just last month.
Will Conor McGregor actually return to the UFC?
With Khabib Nurmagomedov on his way out and the UFC Lightweight Championship expected to be put up for grabs, will Conor McGregor finally make his Octagon return?
The former two-division world champion made quick work of Donald Cerrone back in January, but then announced his retirement in June following unresolved negotiations with the UFC.
Since then, “The Notorious” has been linked to a bout with boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao. Most recently, he publicly agreed to a rematch with #2-ranked UFC lightweight contender Dustin Poirier in an charity event that’s not linked to the UFC.
Obviously, the UFC would rather see that rematch within their jurisdiction and make it a title eliminator bout.
Given the recent developments in the lightweight division, how likely is it that we see Conor McGregor back in the fold soon? Have your say in the comments.
Published 26 Oct 2020, 16:07 IST