UFC 262 started with no lightweight champion as the title was vacated due to the retirement of dominate champion Khabib Nurmagomedov. By the end of the event a new champion was crowned in dramatic fashion.
Charles Oliveira became the lightweight champion by finishing Michael Chandler with a fury of punches early into round two. The ending was dramatic due to how the first round ended with Chandler rocking Oliveira with a punch and nearly finishing the fight.
After a crazy ending to the fight, the UFC will go forward with Oliveira ruling over arguably the deepest division within the promotion. Chandler vows to be back in the title picture within a year. Now let’s find out what is the next move for both of these men on this edition of Matchmaker Monday.
Result: defeated Michael Chandler by second-round TKO at UFC 262
Next: winner of Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor
The road to gold at 155 pounds goes through the country of Brazil as Oliveira sits at the top of the division.
His road to this point has been remarkable. When he made the decision to move back up to lightweight following a number of losses at featherweight, Oliveira lost his first outing at 155 pounds to Paul Felder. He hasn’t lost since.
After an incredible run to the top, he will now be the one being hunted down by contenders and it would appear that his next opponent would be the winner of the Poirier-McGregor trilogy in July. Poirier is clearly the No.1 contender in the division and McGregor has the superstardom factor that always makes him a contender whether you like it or not.
If for some reason the winner of July’s trilogy would need time off following the fight, Justin Gaethje is next. He’s kind of the odd man out right now. If the Poirier-McGregor wins takes the fight with Oliveira, look for Chandler or Beneil Dariush to fight Gaethje in a title elimination fight.
Result: lost to Charles Oliveira by second-round TKO at UFC 262
Next: Justin Gaethje
Chandler’s aggressive style got him so close to claiming a UFC title. That same style may have cost him the fight as he missed with a punch and Oliveira landed a perfect counter left hook to claim the belt. As the old saying goes, you live by the sword you die by the sword.
After the loss, Chandler said in his post-fight press conference that he has no regrets and he wants plans to fight for the title again within a year.
His journey back to a title fight will start with Gaethje in what really could be a title eliminator. Both guys are coming off losses in title fights. They’re both ranked in the top five of the division and not to mention the fight is so much fun and the fans will go crazy over the matchup.
Dariush is a wild card for both of Chandler and Gaethje. He is expecting to take time off following the birth of his daughter. While he’ll return in late 2021 or very early 2022, that time off could affect who he fights.