Who Will UFC Lightweight Champion Khabib Nurmagomedov Fight Next?

Khabib Nurmagomedov has a colossal target on his back, and god help the man who’s got him in the scope.

With an absolutely dominant display over Conor McGregor and a career-defining fence jump, Khabib Nurmagomedov went from one of the most objectively boring fighters in the UFC to a star that has transcended the sport, and not gone unnoticed.

With his unbelievable wrestling background and 27-0 undefeated record, it is a shame that it took a bus assault and a spontaneous Royal Rumble at the end of UFC 229 for Khabib, 30, to become a household name. Much like his opponent on the occasion Conor Mcgregor faced after his UFC 194 knockout of Jose Aldo, Khabib is the fight everyone thinks they want.

Although the UFC has slapped Khabib with an “indefinite ban” after the chaos at the end of 229, Dana White knows he has a superstar on hand with Khabib. Talks of a bout with Ferguson, a super fight with GSP, a McGregor rematch or even a bout with Floyd Mayweather, will inevitably see Khabib’s cage flying antics swept away.

The obvious choice for the UFC would be a Mcgregor rematch. Some may argue that the Notorious one has the stand up to finish Khabib on any other night, but ultimately Mcgregor showed nothing on the night for the UFC to truly justify a rematch. Other than the third round, Mcgregor was unable to keep the fight where he wanted it. Khabib was in full control, keeping Mcgregor grounded for most of the fight, even rocking Mcgregor with an overhand right in the second round. Simply put the Irishman did not show the killer instinct that once defined him. Mcgregor’s coach John Kavanagh has already stated he wants the rematch, but simply this is one to avoid. Khabib has his number.

Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Conor Mcgregor

A less likely choice, to the distain of MMA purists is Tony Ferguson. Despite being top contender and a dominating showing in his co-main event with Antony Pettis at 229, the top lightweight contender lacks the star power to match Khabib. The fight would make for a technical spectacle as Ferguson’s own wrestling background makes for an interesting fight, although I’d expect a repeat of the Michael Johnson fight if it was to ever happen.

The most talked about option however is Khabib jumping over and boxing Floyd Mayweather Jr. Although unbelievable at first glance, Mayweather-McGregor has already set the precedent for this. This is a horrible idea for Khabib, and I’m sure that’s something he already knows. But this is a guy who grew up wrestling bears, its not insane to think he’d be willing to go a few rounds with Floyd Mayweather for 100 million dollars. But for Khabib who has a background in wrestling, a boxing bout with Mayweather may be one to avoid.

All now know the name Khabib Nurmagomedov, and anyone who wants to make a name for themselves know that he is the guy to beat, but any fighter will fear what he can do. This Halloween if any trick or treaters come to my door as Khabib, I’ll take no risks. The whole bag of sweets is theirs.

By Adam Ridgley 

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