After April the UFC featherweight and lightweight divisions correct themselves

After April the UFC featherweight and lightweight divisions correct themselves

It has been a few weeks since UFC 223 and everything that surrounded it. While the dust settles it looks like the lightweight division will finally correct itself and the return of Conor McGregor is not event necessary for it to happen.

“The time for honoring yourself will soon be at an end.” – Maximus in Gladiator (2000)

When looking at McGregor’s rise to champion and highest-earning athlete in MMA, the changes McGregor seems to have gone through do not go unnoticed. While his accolades have brought new fans and investors to the sport it seems the price of fame and fortune at a young age builds a sense of invincibility and the way the world works, a lesson in humility must follow.

With all the problems UFC 223 had, it seems to have finally corrected the lightweight division by determining one champion by crowning one single champion as a result of all the changes in the main event for that week. Khabib Nurmagomedov and Al Iaquinta fought and “The Eagle” of Dagestan emerged victoriously. With his new title, he has vowed to defend it against anyone and do so soon.

“Interim” titles have become a little too common in the UFC and in particular, the lightweight division was affected by the inactivity of “The Notorious” Irish fighter. More than 500 days without defending his MMA title the Brooklyn event is the beginning of correcting the title situation by making the winner the one lightweight champion in the UFC. Nurmagomedov now holds that claim and the incident at Barclay’s Center leading up to that seemed to involve some beef with McGregor’s friend, Artem Lobov.

That beef can easily be settled in the cage should McGregor ever return.

Right now, all eyes are on the new champ in Nurmagomedov who is willing to take on all challengers and having a champ like that keeps the division moving. McGregor was the king of the promotion and two divisions when he was invested in MMA. However, since his boxing match with Floyd Mayweather, Jr. his interest seems to have dissipated with the growth of his fame and fortune. Stars are made in combat sports but time has shown that their trend can be cyclical and even fade by their actions or inaction.

Speaking of action, Kevin Lee has inserted himself as a strong opponent for Nurmagomedov as the comparisons to their grinding style of finishing their opponents almost were mirrored in the main event at Atlantic City. Lee dominated the fight against Edson Barboza until the stoppage was issued by the doctor in the final round. Fans argue that Lee did not truly earn a shot at Nurmagomedov because he missed weight for the main event, but Nurmagomedov has missed weight in the past as well and with the way they fight, it’s a fight fans would like to see, title or no title.

Lee’s loss to Ferguson was when he was fighting off a staph infection and for the interim title. An interim title that has now gone away with any patience the UFC had waiting for McGregor to decide on a return to mixed martial arts. While he did get submitted by Ferguson, his performance was similar in regards to the pressure and output he showed in Atlantic City Saturday night.

Nurmagomedov, Lee, Max Holloway, Brian Ortega and a sport where there are plenty of young lions looking to duplicate the success of McGregor and countless other in MMA, only means that UFC 223 is the beginning of the correcting the McGregor influence in the UFC. The fights are there to make and the way MMA evolves, McGregor may have some catching up to do.

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