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Following Khabib's retirement, Charles Oliveira and Michael Chandler challenge lightweight title at UFC 262

Following Khabib's retirement, Charles Oliveira and Michael Chandler challenge lightweight title at UFC 262

  • Khabib Nurmagomedov completed his retirement at a recent meeting with UFC President Dana White.
  • With Khabib officially retiring, the UFC is ending the fight between Charles Oliveira and Michael Chandler for the vacant belt.
  • # 3 Oliveira won eight bouts in a row, but no. 4 Chandler defeated Dan Hooker in his UFc debut last January.

After UFC President Dana White finally acknowledged the resignation of Khabib Nurmagomedov, the UFC lightweight belt became vacant. However, he will not remain an orphan for long.

According to ESPN, 3rd place Charles Oliveira and 4th place Michael Chandler will compete for the free UFC lightweight belt at the main event of UFC 262 on May 15. The UFC has not made an official announcement and there is currently no venue for the event.

End of an era

Nurmagomedov left the Octagon long ago. In fact, he announced it himself after defeating Justin Gotji at UFC 254 on October 24, 2020. This victory was the third successful defense of Nurmagomedov's title in a row. He previously defeated Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier to remain lightweight champion and ended his career with an unbeaten record of 29-0.

However, UFC President Dana White continued to insist that Nurmagomedov only needed a day off after his father's death. White met with Nurmagomedov several times, ostensibly to try to lure him back to the Octagon. Khabib never changed his position, and on Thursday the door was finally closed and the era officially ended.

White wrote to ESPN to finally confirm that Nurmagomedov had retired. White said he met with Khabib in Las Vegas for a week, and after extensive discussion between "real men," Nurmagomedov reaffirmed his desire to remain retired. Now White is ready to move on, as is the lightweight division, which has been in limbo for the past five months.

Oliveira vs. Chandler for Free Belt

Oliveira is heading to UFC 262 following a dominant win over former interim champion Tony Ferguson last December. The 31-year-old footballer from São Paulo, Brazil has been in tears since moving from the featherweight division. Before the Bronx won eight straight lightweight bouts, beating the likes of Clay Guida, Jim Miller, Jared Gordon, Kevin Lee and Ferguson.

Earlier this year, Oliveira was offered to Chandler in a non-title fight, but the Brazilian declined the offer, citing insufficient training time. However, with a world title on the line and plenty of time to prepare, Oliveira couldn't give up this golden opportunity to become UFC champion.

Meanwhile, Chandler is taking a much shorter route to the world title. The former three-time Bellator Lightweight Champion signed with the UFC last year and served as a reserve fighter in Khabib's vs. Goetzha match. After no fights against Ferguson, Oliveira, and Gotji were scheduled, Chandler made his UFC debut against Dan Hooker at UFC 257 last January and won by first-round knockout.

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