McGregor vs Poirier winner will fight top contender for title – White

Dana White confirms Conor McGregor’s UFC 257 showdown with Dustin Poirier will NOT be for lightweight title – even if Khabib stays retired – and the winner ‘will face highest ranked fighter for belt next’

  • Khabib Nurmagomedov retired after his emotional win over Justin Gaethje  
  • Lightweight division has a number of top contenders vying for the belt  
  • Many believe winner of Conor McGregor vs Dustin Poirier should be champion
  • But Dana White will have the victor take on the highest ranked 155-pound star

Dana White has confirmed that Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier will not be fighting for the UFC lightweight championship on January 23. 

Khabib Nurmagomedov’s title has not been officially vacated yet despite the fact that he retired after his win over Justin Gaethje last October. 

Some had thought the UFC would make a late announcement that the UFC 257 rematch between McGregor and Poirier would be for the belt. 

Conor McGregor (left) and Dustin Poirier (right) will not be fighting for the lightweight title 

Khabib Nurmagomedov’s retirement does not mean the UFC 257 main event is for a belt

But White has cleared up the situation, confirming that the winner will fight the highest ranked 155-pound fighter for the title after this encounter. 

He said: ‘If Khabib does retire, then whoever the highest ranked guy is at the time will end up facing Conor if Conor beats Poirier and would end up fighting for the title, I’m sure.’

And White again touched on Khabib’s retirement with so much debate swirling about whether the pound-for-pound No 1 will return.  

‘As a promoter, you always want the best guys in the world. But when a guy wants to retire, he probably should,’ he added. 

‘But the difference with a guy like Khabib is that he’s been through so much and losing his dad is such a major blow to him. 

‘It was something that they did together and his dad wanted him to hit 30-0. But as a fight fan, I want Khabib to fight 10 more.’ 

The fact that White is willing to allow the contenders to battle it out for Khabib’s belt rather than just make a title fight is welcome, particularly when there are so many talented fighters at the top. 

Charles Oliveira recently threw his hat in the ring by beating Tony Ferguson so well, while the winner of Dan Hooker vs Michael Chandler will also have a case to make. 

Justin Gaethje will also feel like he deserves a say given he’s still the No 1 contender in the rankings but will perhaps be made to take on a fight before he is given another chance. 

Justin Gaethje is still the No 1 contender in the division even though he lost to Khabib

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