Which direction does the UFC go with the lightweight division
There have been a lot of exciting fights the last couple of years in the UFC lightweight division, but specifically this last year. The UFC’s lightweight division is one of the best in the sport, if not the best, when it comes to absolute wars. After UFC 281 and 282, the big question is: where does the UFC go with the division?
At UFC 280, Islam Makhachev defeated Charles Oliveira to be crowned the champion of the division, which now leaves Oliveira open to fight. In UFC 282: Dustin Poirier and Michael Chandler had a war, and Dustin came out on top in the third round via rear naked choke. That fight was possibly the fight of the year, and this year had a ton of great fights. Then you have Beneil Dariush, who just beat Mateusz Gamrot and is now on an eight-fight winning streak. You also have Rafael Fiziev, who is looking for a top-five contender and ranks seventh in the division. Oh, and it doesn’t end there; did I mention Justin Gaethje, who took some time off after his title loss back in May to get nose surgery and recover, is ready to fight early next year?
The UFC is having Alexander Volkanovski, who has run through the featherweight division, move up to lightweight to fight Makhachev in February at UFC 284. That leaves the rest of the division time to make a name for themselves and earn the next shot, even though many believe it should be Dariush. The UFC has a tough task ahead when it comes to booking this lightweight division, but they are not shy from a tough task, and they always make it work out one way or another.
All in all, here is how I see the lightweight division playing out in terms of who should fight who. Conor Mcgregor and Michael Chandler makes way too much sense if The Notorious gets back into the USADA testing pool. Dustin Poirier taking on Justin Gaethje for a second time can be injected into every MMA fan's veins. Beneil Dariush vs. Charles Oliveira to me is another fight to make. The odd man out as of now is Rafael Fiziev, who has been calling for a fight with Gaethje. That fight could happen, but I think Fiziev might have to take one more fight outside of the top five and win before he gets his chance because of where the division stands. He could fight Michael Chandler if the Conor thing doesn’t work out, but we will have to see where that ends up. This division has many different routes it can take, and no matter which route the UFC takes, it will be fun to watch next year in 2023. Gear up for another exciting year of lightweight fights because they are coming again.