There is a lot of discussion about who should be the next belt challenger in the lightweight category. Of course, Dustin Poirier is next in line, but his match against Charles Oliveira is very close. ‘"The Bronx ’’ and ‘‘ Diamond ’’ will have a fight on December 11 as part of the UFC 269 event, and fighters like Justin Gaethje and Islam Makhachev desperately want a place as the next challenger.
We seem to have gotten the answer as to who will get the chance first, and that seems to be Justin Gaethje. Namely, multiple sources for ESPN have confirmed that Islam Makhachev and Beneil Dariush will lead the UFC event in the second month of next year, on February 26 to be precise.
It is a match between the fourth (Makhachev) and third (Dariush) challenger of the UFC lightweight category. Apart from champions Oliveira, Dariush and Makhachev are the two fighters with the most impressive winning streaks in the category.
Beneil Dariush has celebrated in his last seven matches. Tony Ferguson in the fifth month of this year, was his last victim in the series, and the 32-year-old Dariush also beat fighters like Drew Dober, Thiago Moises and Carlos Diego Ferreira.
It’s a truly impressive string of victories and it’s a bit unfair that Dariush is currently very rarely mentioned as a fighter who deserves to attack the belt. However, if he defeats Islam Makhachev, a "title shot" is guaranteed.
Islam Makhachev on the other hand has a slightly longer winning streak. The 30-year-old Dagestani has defeated the last nine opponents. Khabib’s legitimate successor is dominantly stepping towards the very top, and at the end of October, he finished Dan Hooker in the first round.
Beneil Dariush is still the toughest test in Islam's career so far, and if the Dagestani does that match in his own style, a "title shot" will also be guaranteed. The fight between Dariush and Makhachev has not been officially confirmed, nor is the location of the event known.
However, according to the mentioned sources, this is the main fight of the evening, so five rounds are planned for that clash. Justin Gaethje will be most pleased with this outcome, as it is now almost certain that his next match will be for the UFC lightweight title.
Who knows, maybe in the near future he will welcome Makahchev as his opponent, where he will have the opportunity to end the dilemma