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Khabib Nurmagomedov includes Conor McGregor in his top 3 UFC lightweight picks 

UFC 229: Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Conor McGregor Press Conference
UFC 229: Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Conor McGregor Press Conference
Anurag Mitra
SENIOR ANALYST
Modified 29 Dec 2020, 17:14 IST
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Khabib Nurmagomedov has named the top three fighters in the heavily stacked UFC lightweight division. For the past few years, the 155lbs division has been one of the most competitive divisions in UFC, with a host of top contenders vying to win the coveted gold strap. Nurmagomedov is still the holder of the lightweight title, but it is unclear whether he will continue to be so.

In a recent interview with a Russian media outlet, MatchTV, the undefeated Russian clearly stated that he wouldn't want to return to the octagon.

In his absence, Khabib Nurmagomedov has picked Conor McGregor, Dustin Poirier, and Islam Makhachev to rule the division for years to come.

In our weight division, a competitive environment has always reigned. In the UFC, the most-anticipated fights are at lightweight. At the moment, I would include Dustin, Conor and Islam Makhachev in the top 3. 

Where do Khabib Nurmagomedov's top 3 picks stand in the lightweight division at the moment?

Conor McGregor is a former two-time UFC champion and is widely considered one of the best strikers in the lightweight division. McGregor has the famed 'touch of death' in his left hand, which put many a fighter to sleep before they knew it.

The accuracy and precision with which the Irishman strikes is second to none, and with a win against Dustin Poirier at UFC 257, Conor McGregor will once again find himself at the cusp of greatness in the lightweight division.

Dustin Poirier is ranked #2 in the UFC lightweight rankings and has been an interim champion in the past. Poirier dispatched a host of top contenders and former champions like Justin Gaethje, Max Holloway, Anthony Pettis, and Eddie Alvarez to earn himself a shot at the title. However, even after putting a brave front and showing championship heart, Poirier fell short against Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 242.

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Like a true champion, Poirier dusted himself off following the defeat and got back on the grind. Poirier battled surging contender and knockout artist Dan Hooker at a UFC Fight Night event in June and earned himself a hard-fought victory after five rounds of back and forth action. Now set to face Conor McGregor in a rematch, The Diamond knows that a win will bring him ever so close to the gold strap he has been fighting for all his life.

Both Khabib Nurmagomedov and his late father Abdulmanap have previously predicted Islam Makhachev will become the new king of the lightweight division after the undefeated Russian's retirement. Makhachev has just one loss in his professional career and is on an impressive six-fight win streak inside the octagon.

Hailing from Dagestan and having trained under the tutelage of Khabib Nurmagomedov's father, Makhachev's grappling skills are world-class, and he is also adept on his feet. A few more wins inside the octagon, and he will soon be in the mix for a potential title shot.

Published 29 Dec 2020, 17:14 IST
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