Following UFC Fight Night: Tsarukyan vs. Dariush, the entire ranked Lightweight roster is not booked for any fights. We will discuss the next seven matchups to be made in the division.
This matchup was supposed to go down at UFC 294, but Oliveira was forced out of the fight due to a cut sustained over his eye. This fight should be the next Lightweight title fight.
Makhachev carries two wins over Alexander Volkanovski, with his second one coming via head-kick TKO and a second-round submission over "Do Bronx." Oliveira still holds wins over the #2, #3, #4, and #5 ranked contenders, so his resume trumps any other contender vying for the title shot.
However, it's difficult to say when this matchup can take place. With UFC 297, UFC 298, and UFC 299 having confirmed headliners and Ramadan taking place just before UFC 300, we might get this fight in May/June of 2024.
This is a fight between two guys who would be in contention for a title shot next if Charles Oliveira didn't exist. Gaethje is looking to make one last run at the title before calling it a career, whereas Tsarukyan is just 27 years old and just getting started.
Gaethje has rebounded from his loss vs. Oliveira with wins over Rafael Fiziev and Dustin Poirier. Tsarukyan has just secured a massive victory over Beneil Dariush, which has shot him into the Lightweight top 5.
This fight deserves to be on a PPV, a potential co-headliner for UFC 299, or even a spot on UFC 300. Given the title implications, too, it would make sense to make this bout five rounds regardless of whether it's a main event, as we saw with Belal Muhammad vs. Gilbert Burns.
What a matchup this would be, two rising Lightweight prospects who aren't even thirty years old. Both guys are ranked just outside the top 10, and a win would be huge for either man's career.
Jalin Turner has suffered back-to-back split-decision losses to Mateusz Gamrot and Dan Hooker but has proved in both fights he's a legitimate contender, and he solidified it this past weekend with a highlight KO over Bobby Green. Saint-Denis, alternatively, has just enjoyed the best year of his career, with three finishes over high-level opposition: Ismael Bonfim, Thiago Moises, and Matt Frevola all were victims to "God of War," and none of them made it to the third round.
Benoit has expressed his desire to headline a Fight Night card in Paris, France, and Jalin Turner is a game opponent who won't have any qualms facing him in his backyard.
It's a matchup we might have to wait a while for, but it'll be fireworks when we get it. Fiziev is currently sidelined until next year following an ACL injury in his last bout, and Hooker won't be able to train until March of 2024 due to a recurring arm injury.
Fiziev faced Mateusz Gamrot in his first UFC main event in September, but the fight was cut short when Fiziev tore his ACL in the second round, and he currently doesn't know when he can return to action. Hooker is coming off a Fight of The Year contender against Jalin Turner, where he broke his arm in the second round of the fight.
Hopefully, both guys recover from their injuries quickly, and we get to see this matchup in Q2 or Q3 of 2024.
This fight has been in the works for over a year now. Michael Chandler and Conor McGregor participated in the 31st season of TUF at the start of 2023, which aired between May and August. A bout between the pair has been teased since, but it has yet to come to fruition in 2023.
Both Chandler and McGregor are coming off losses to Dustin Poirier but with very different outcomes. Poirier submitted Chandler in the third round for the first time in his career, and McGregor injured his leg at the end of round one, forcing the contest to be stopped.
This matchup seems like the fight to make to headline UFC 300, but you never really know with Conor McGregor. However, we can assume this fight will headline a PPV due to its magnitude, but which PPV we can't know for sure.
Do you agree with these matchups, and if not, what would you change? As a member of the Verdict Community, let us know your thoughts in the comments below.