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The month of January needs to fast forward to the 23rd when UFC 257 takes the main stage. Connor McGregor will make his long-awaited return to the Octagon and face Dustin Poirer. Even better, Khabib Nurmagomedov will be in the same vicinity watching. According to recent reports, Khabib, who just months ago announced his retirement from MMA following his win over Justin Gaethje, will be at Flash Forum in Yas Island, Abu Dhabi.
Khabib will be in attendance to watch his cousin Umar Nurmagomedov make his UFC debut on the same card as McGregor. The 24-year old, 12-0 in MMA, is set to fight Sergey Morozov in the bantamweight. After that, Khabib will watch to see who will get their hands on the lightweight championship belt.
Deserves to be Champion
Who will be named lightweight champion is among our UFC predictions tonight? Despite Khabib’s retirement announcement, UFC Dana White believes that he can convince him to fight one more time and notch the 30th victory in his career. To Khabib (29-0), he believes that the winner of the headliner will be next in line to claim the belt.
It’s not a surprise that the UFC wants Khabib to continue fighting. He has been in the league for nine years and is undefeated. He has a great story even before his father tragically passed away. His fan base is also very strong. However, it doesn’t sound like there is much Khabib could receive in order to come out of retirement. His father was his training partner. His win over Gaethje was an emotional victory in the UFC 254 main event in October. While UFC 257 is not a title fight, the winner will likely eventually go on to fight for the title even if Khabib is not in that fight.
We haven’t seen a great Russian fighter like Khabib since Fedor Emelianenko, who was 39-6 overall in his fighting career. The lightweight belt will likely be up for grabs unless Khabib stays. If Khabib chooses to not fight for a 30-0 record, there are three fighters that will be in the running for the belt. Those include McGregor, Poirier, and Islam Makhachev.
The Tip-Off of 2021
The UFC was one of the few sports that was able to keep pushing on during the pandemic. While 2020 was filled with quite a few great fights, the company, and the world for that matter, is ready to move onto the future.
UFC 257 is a crown jewel of the promotion’s return to Fight island in Abu Dhabi. This will kickoff the 2021 schedule. Over an eight-day span, three events will be held. That includes Fight Nights on Saturday, January 16, Wednesday, January 20, and then UFC 257 on Saturday, January 23. For that week span, all you need to do is sit down, kick back, and relax. It’s time to see who the next face of the UFC will be. Who do you think it will be?