With Khabib Nurmagomedov’s retirement official (per none other than UFC President Dana White), the promotion is ready to embark on the next era at lightweight. And that will involve the crowning of a new champion, in a fight between top 155’ers Michael Chandler and Charles Oliveira.
The pair will battle for the promotion’s vacant lightweight crown at UFC 262 in May. ESPN’s Brett Okamoto was first to report the news on Thursday. That follows several other key fights being revealed by the UFC’s official broadcaster.
UFC officials confirmed news of Chandler vs. Oliveira late Thursday.
Chandler (22-5), a former multi-time Bellator MMA lightweight champion, arrived in the UFC with a bang earlier this year. At UFC 257, he landed an explosive knockout of Dan Hooker to announce his arrival in the UFC, then called out ex-champ Khabib in a perfectly done promo post-fight.
He won’t get “The Eagle,” but Michael Chandler will fight for gold next. Against one of the most deserving and underrated fighters in the lightweight division, Charles Oliveira. “Do Bronx” has quietly amassed an eight-fight win streak in the cavernous depths of the 155lb weight class. Most recently, he earned a unanimous decision victory against perennial contender and former interim champ Tony Ferguson. Kevin Lee, Jim Miller, and Clay Guida also pepper Oliveria’s resume.
The pairing of Chandler and Oliveira also leaves Dustin Poirier free to pursue a big-money trilogy fight with superstar Conor McGregor. That fight could also produce the division’s number one contender.
UFC 262 takes place May 15, 2021. With the addition of Oliveira vs. Chandler, the event now contains the following fights:
Charles Oliveira vs. Michael Chandler – for the vacant UFC lightweight championship
Priscila Cachoeira vs. Gina Mazany
Katlyn Chookagian vs. Viviane Araújo
Alex Perez vs. Matt Schnell
Andrea Lee vs. Antonina Shevchenko
Edson Barboza vs. Shane Burgos
Jordan Wright vs. Jamie Pickett
Christos Giagos vs. Joel Álvarez
Tony Ferguson vs. Beneil Dariush