Very shortly after Dana White announced the official retirement of Khabib Nurmagomedov, it was also officially announced who and when will fight for the UFC lightweight title. It will be Michael Chandler and Charles Oliveira, who will lead the UFC 262 event.
It takes place on May 15, and the location is currently unknown, as it is certain that the UFC will try to bring it to the public. This is actually a kind of reversal following the information brought by Ariel Helwani, and transmitted by all relevant martial arts media.
According to his sources, Michael Chandler was in negotiations to fight Justin Gaethje and both have already accepted it. Now the only question is whether someone set Helwani a good “spin” hook, which he hooked on, or a sudden change occurred, which was influenced by Khabib’s final decision and White’s intention to stop persuading him to return.
Either way, martial arts fans have been given a fight whose pairing many will disagree with, and the reasons for this are easy to recognize. As for Oliveira (30-8, 18-8 UFC), no one will dispute his title attack. The 31-year-old Brazilian has been in the UFC for ten years and has matured perfectly into one of the best fighters in the world, which is supported by a series of eight victories.
In addition, he is an attractive fighter who broke several UFC records and has the potential to improve them even more in the future and add some new ones. For a long time, one of the most dangerous grapplers raised his “stand up” fight to a few levels higher and consequently brought himself into a position of fighting for the throne.
The problem with many will be created by Chandler (22-5, 1-0 UFC). Many believe that one UFC victory, over Dan Hooker, who entered the fight against him after the defeat, can not be worth fighting for the title.
On the other hand, Chandler has already created quite a bit of hype with himself, so this decision of the UFC is not surprising.
Especially if the fighter which the fans most want to see fighting for the title has different plans. This of course refers to Dustin Poirier, who in every sporting sense should be Oliveira's opponent in the title fight.
But it seems that he chose a more financially viable option, to begin with, that is, what the third fight against Conor McGregor will bring him. It is to be assumed that the winner will immediately become the first challenger, so Dustin decided to briefly put what he called his main ambition in the background, convinced that he would once again defeat McGregor, and then enter the title fight as one of the biggest UFC stars.
Chandler and Oliveira should have already been paired, but the UFC failed to arrange their match. The problem was created by Oliveira, who, at the expense of his results, asked for the fight to be for the title. Now that the UFC has been able to make it possible for him, there is no doubt that he has accepted it very easily.