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With Khabib Nurmagomedov and Justin Gaethje fighting for the undisputed lightweight championship at UFC 254 in this highly anticipated Champion vs Champion fight, let’s take a look at how abnormally stacked their division is at the moment.
Currently, the lightweight division is the most competitive division in the UFC, and arguably the most combative a division has ever been. And it’s not even close. With killers like Justin Gaethje and Tony Ferguson along with former double champ Conor McGregor prowling in the division, one can expect them to be able to dethrone the current undefeated champion Khabib Nurmagomedov who’s looked unstoppable in his last several outings.
Nurmagomedov, Gaethje, Ferguson and McGregor along with Dustin Poirier sit at the top 5 of the division, and all 5 of them have held a UFC championship within the last 3 years. Also, all 5 of them are currently in the men’s pound-for-pound rankings (a distinction handed out to just 15 of the very best fighters on the entire roster).
Fighters outside of the top 5 have proved that they are just as worthy of being among the top as Dustin Poirier was on the brink of losing to No. 6 ranked Dan Hooker. Poirier won a hard fought razor close decision against Hooker in June in a potential “Fight of the Year”.
Hooker on the other hand won an even closer split decision against Paul Felder, a fight that many scored for Felder, while Felder in his previous fight also edged a split decision against Edson Barboza. With so many close bouts and with guys outside of the top 5 taking the fight to the monsters of the division, one can argue that this is probably the most ruthless a division has ever been. Basically, there’s no such thing as an easy fight in the lightweight division.
Also with guys like Carlos Diego Ferreira and Charles Oliveira (who’s on a 7 fight win streak) and with the recent signing of 3 time Bellator World Champion Michael Chandler, it’s safe to say that from top to bottom, this is easily the most stacked weight class in UFC history.
On October 24th, in what will go down as one of the most anticipated fights in UFC history, Khabib Nurmagomedov and Justin Gaethje will look to unify their world titles. Gaethje according to many will pose the greatest challenge to the undefeated Nurmagomedov, who has pretty much dominated every fight he’s been part of.
Despite Gaethje being a striker, both have an amazing wrestling background and it’ll be very interesting to see what threats can Gaethje pose to Khabib as the MMA community believes that Gaethje can neutralize Khabib’s wrestling which is his greatest weapon.
At the end of the day, this division will be remembered as one that generated the most revenue for the UFC thanks to guys like Conor McGregor and Khabib himself, who were responsible for millions of PPV buys. Not bad for a weight class that was entirely wiped out by the UFC 17 years ago.