Now that all of the proverbial dust has settled following the nonsensical madness that led to this past weekend’s UFC 223 event, there’s one man who has the right to call himself the best lightweight in the world. He even has the undisputed gold to prove it.
Khabib Nurmagomedov had no idea who was going to be standing across from him when he entered the Octagon until nearly the day of the event itself. After the initial bout with Tony Ferguson was called off due to a freak injury suffered by ‘El Cucuy’, Nurmagomedov was scheduled to fight Featherweight champ Max Holloway. Once the Holloway fight went by the wayside, fights with Anthony Pettis and Paul Felder were targeted. We won’t even get into his bus being attacked by a gang of Irish mad men led by Conor McGregor. Sure, he may have been a massive favorite over all the men who were tapped to replace Ferguson according to all of the most respected sites like bookmaker.com.au around the world. But when you sit down and look at all of the events that took place during the week, you have to give credit where credit is due. Most men would’ve pulled out of the event altogether.
After dominating Al Iaquinta for five full rounds, Nurmagomedov now stands all alone on an island as the top lightweight in the sport. His 26-0 record and his celebrity status in Russia make him one of the most marketable fighters in the world to boot. “The Eagle” has yet to lose a round since joining the UFC 2012.
There are two fights that make the most sense for Nurmagomedov next and both of them would put him opposite two of the biggest names the sport has ever seen.
After the events that took place leading up to UFC 223, don’t expect to see Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor shaking hands anytime soon. After all, the only reason McGregor made that infamous attack on that bus in the first place was because it was carrying Nurmagomedov and his teammates. That attack may cost the Irish superstar millions of dollars that he’ll need to make back by doing what he does best. Fighting. The question is, will he decide to fight Nurmagomedov for the title that was once his? Or will he end up welcoming Floyd Mayweather Jr. to his world instead? Betting sites have McGregor as anywhere up to a -900 favorite for that fight with the comeback on Mayweather set at +550 and even higher.
The other option for Nurmagomedov would be a super fight with Canadian megastar Georges St. Pierre. In a surprising plot twist, Nurmagomedov called out GSP after his lopsided victory over Iaquinta in the main event of UFC 223. This is certainly a contest that would make waves as a headliner for the UFC’s debut in Russia.
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