The lightweight division is on high alert this weekend.
Newly crowned UFC Champion Charles Oliveira will his attempt his first title defense against the resurging Dustin Poirier. The two men will headline the last pay-per-view event of 2021 at UFC 269. There will be a lot at stake in Las Vegas this weekend.
This is a fight that everybody is talking about. It’s must see TV. For Chael Sonnen, it’s a must see story which can go down any number of ways.
There Is A Lot Riding On This
It’s safe to say the former UFC title challenger and MMA analyst has thought long and hard about what this fight entails for both fighters. Sonnen might not exactly be ‘mystic mac’ with his predictions but in this case, he’s not picking the winner, he’s focusing on the potential aftermath of the lightweight title fight.
“Oliveira is not always consistent,” Sonnen said on Submission Radio. “Now, I’m not picking on him. This guy is the king of the hardest division out there. I respect him tremendously, but if you want it to be critical, you could go look at his career.
“He’s been inconsistent. He has had trouble at the scales. He stubbed his toe in some very strange matches where he was a massive favorite within the competition. I think he’s worked through that in his last three and a half years. He’s looked unstoppable and now he’s the king, but there’s a lot riding on this.”
Sonnen is right. The title fight has a lot more than a belt at stake. It has legacy on the line for both Oliveira and Poirier. It’s not just them that have something to worry about. As the two fight in the main event of UFC 269, it will affect how the fans see other players at 155.
If Oliveira Wins
“If Oliveira wins by example, that is going to reflect poorly on Khabib. Khabib is younger. Khabib was at the same timeframe and fought and beat everybody except him. That’s just going to create a question, not enough to bring Khabib back, but when you want to talk about legacy, that’s all that you’re talking about as the discussion going around it.”
Khabib Nurmagomedov retired as the UFC Lightweight Champion back in 2020. After running through the division and beating names like Justin Gaethje, Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor, Khabib would call it a career at UFC 254.
One name he never crossed paths with is the current champ Charles Oliveira, who won his vacated belt earlier this year.
‘The Diamond’ did end up taking on Khabib, but would lose the title fight by submission in round 2. He has rebounded from the loss, winning three straight. He returns to title contention against the new champ.
If Poirier Wins
“On the other side of the coin, if one of the guys that Khabib disposed of, in this case, Dustin Poirier goes and grabs the belt. It really shows just how good and dominant Khabib was. The same thing is sitting on Conor’s lap. If Oliveira goes out there and destroys the guy who destroyed Conor McGregor, there’s going to be a perception issue.”