Khabib Nurmagomedov believes Dustin Poirier should be UFC lightweight champion when division looks to move on

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Khabib Nurmagomedov, technically speaking, still reigns as UFC lightweight champion. This is true even after Nurmagomedov announced his retirement from the sport this past October. Nurmagomedov, however, thinks the time has come for the belt to move to the waist of Dustin Poirier.

Poirier knocked out Conor McGregor last month in the main event of UFC 257, a rematch of a 2014 fight and the biggest win of an already impressive career. Ahead of the fight, UFC president Dana White suggested that he believed Nurmagomedov would return for one final fight which included alluding to the notion that Nurmagomedov would consider returning should either man impress enough in their fight.

Poirier certainly impressed in stopping McGregor in the second round, but Nurmagomedov told Match TV that it was not enough to motivate him to step back in the Octagon.

“I wouldn’t say Poirier and McGregor disappointed me,” Nurmagomedov said. “They showed nothing supernatural. I fought with Poirier, nothing special. It’s the same with Conor. I believe that now Poirier deserves to be a champion. That’s my opinion. Look at the fighters he’s fought: Jim Miller, Eddie Alvarez, Anthony Pettis, Max Holloway. These are all top fighters and they could end up in the UFC’s Hall of Fame.”

Nurmagomedov defeated then-interim champion Poirier at UFC 242 in September 2019, winning by submission in the third round. He also holds a submission victory over McGregor during his 29-0 professional career.

White admitted after UFC 257 that he does not anticipate Nurmagomedov would return for another fight. In the meantime, rumors have swirled in recent weeks that the UFC could be looking to set up a third fight between McGregor and Poirier.

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