When UFC events resume and the fights roll out again, many weight classes are going to need clarity. None may be a bigger priority than lightweight, which was supposed to be spotlighted on the postponed UFC 249 card.
The original UFC 249 main event featured champion Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Tony Ferguson for the lightweight belt. The booking fell apart for a fifth time due to the coronavirus pandemic, and Justin Gaethje stepped in to fight Ferguson for interim gold.
Since that fight never materialized, though, it seems fair the UFC goes back to Nurmagomedov vs. Ferguson. That leaves Gaethje in need of an opponent, and likely back to his rumored matchup with Conor McGregor, which would seemingly be a title eliminator.
It seems rather straightforward, and McGregor’s longtime head coach, John Kavanagh, said he’d like to see things play out that way. Essentially, what Kavanagh wants is a four-man tournament that would begin in summer and conclude at year’s end (via Twitter):
Although the UFC is reluctant to put an official tournament tag on anything, Kavanagh’s proposal seems quite realistic, assuming events resume in a timely manner and some level of normalcy is maintained in the coming months.
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Nurmagomedov (28-0 MMA, 12-0 UFC) won’t be able to fight until at least August, anyway, as the UFC champ is set to begin observing Ramadan later this month. Ferguson (25-3 MMA, 15-1 UFC) would be the natural fit, though, then McGregor (22-4 MMA, 10-2 UFC) and Gaethje (21-2 MMA, 4-2 UFC) can fight it out for the next opportunity at gold.
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