A month and a half have passed since the UFC 257 event, which brought two big lightweight fights and also great victories of Dustin Poirier over Conor McGregor and Michael Chandler over Dan Hooker. But in those month and a half, the category did not move further.
The top is defined and it is known which fighters are relevant candidates for the title attack. The title is still with Khabib Nurmagomedov, who claims to have retired, but when it comes to the belt, he seems to be waiting for the UFC to take it away from him.
And they obviously have no intention of doing so, hoping that the call of the Octagon will return him to UFC. In such a situation, only Tony Ferguson's fight against Beneil Dariush has been officially arranged for a month and a half, while the rest of the top is still waiting.
Still, that things have started is revealed by the information of Ariel Helwani, which he presented in the last episode of the DC & Helwani show. Namely, the UFC decided to offer a fight to Justin Gaethje and Michael Chandler, and the two of them expressed interest in the same.
Current information speaks in favor of how the conditions are being negotiated and that should be known soon whether the fight will take place and where.
Looking at how the UFC plans to pair Poirier and McGregor in the third fight, the question is where this puts Charles Oliveira.
He has the best string in the category and an impressive victory over Tony Ferguson in his last performance, but it is also known that he twice refused to fight Chandler. So it’s very easily possible that the UFC is leaving him on the ice because of it.
If the two fights mentioned above agree, the Top 10 fighters who still don't have the next opponent are third-placed Oliveira, seventh Rafael Dos Anjos, eighth Dan Hooker, and tenth Paul Felder, but the last two come after the defeat and are not relevant opponents for Oliveira, who is in a string of eight wins.
The only thing that could possibly lead him to fight Felder is the fact that "Irish Dragon" is the last fighter to defeat him. Whatever happens, it’s important that things in the lightweight category start to evolve in some particular direction.
The UFC has to make a decision on Khabib Nurmagomedov because there is no point in having a champion who, in his own words, has been retired for four months and shows no intention of changing that attitude. A division with so many great fighters needs something to fight for. And that should be the title in the foreground.