26 July 2020 02:44
Let's discuss the state of the UFC's middleweight division as well as offer brief word on Khabib Nurmagomedov. If Whitaker wins and Israel beats Costa who do you think will get the next shot at the title? If Whittaker wins tonight, then things depend on the middleweight title fight. It's feasible that the UFC would just pick one of them to give a title shot to, but neither has a huge name at this point and a contender bout would give them time to keep building up Adesanya. His next title shot, is maybe the closest you could call to a choke job but really, he just got caught clean with a dynamite right hand by the best fighter in the world at the time.
I don't believe Stipe will retire, win or lose, after UFC 252 and Francis Ngannou has an ironclad claim to a title shot, so I guess they could just run Stipe-Ngannou II for the vacant belt. Curtis Blaydes III really the vacant title fight the UFC is looking for? That would serve two functions: one, it's among the biggest fights the UFC can put together two, it gets Jones out of 205 and opens up that division for the other contenders. In the meantime, they can have Stipe rematch Ngannou for an interim belt and then the winner fights Jones once he is crowned heavyweight champion. That way the UFC has kept the heavyweight title in play the whole time, created a number of top-shelf fights, and ultimately given Jones another belt.
Perhaps they can cajole Gaethje if Khabib flat out says he wants to take another year off or something but otherwise, even the lure of a Conor McGregor payday likely pales in comparison to being the guy to hand Khabib his first loss. Gaethje wants to prove he's the best in the world and, again, you don't do that by holding a UFC title, you do it by beating Khabib. Khabib Nurmagomedov is quite possibly the greatest fighter of all time and he's earned the right to have us wait. CONOR McGREGOR and Tony Ferguson are both "possibilities" for Khabib Nurmagomedov if he decides to fight on after UFC 252. Nurmagomedov, 31, is set to unify his lightweight title against interim champion Justin Gaethje, also 31, in September.
Khabib had advised Justin to instead maybe fight Conor McGregor. Earlier Justin was really interested in fighting McGregor, but since Conor is not holding any titles and has been retired Justin is showing no interest in fighting him. Conor seems like he is rather enjoying his retired life, but he did reply to the tweet where Justin denied fighting the Notorious one. Even if Conor returns to action this year it is highly unlikely he will face anyone for the 155-pound strap as Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Justin Gaethje is the first priority match that will happen this year.