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Dana White: Conor McGregor vs. Dustin Poirier winner ‘probably’ next for title after UFC 257

There’s still much uncertainty about the future of the UFC lightweight division, but it appears the winner of the UFC 257 main event between Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor is destined for another title fight.

UFC president Dana White said in a recent ESPN+ Q&A with fans that, given where both Poirier (26-6 MMA, 18-5 UFC) and McGregor (21-4 MMA, 10-2 UFC) sit in the 155-pound rankings, and how a win would further elevate their resume, it would be tough not to insert whoever comes out on top in a championship bout.

“Yeah, whoever wins that fight is probably next in line,” White told Laura Sanko in response to a fan question.

The future of the lightweight class heavily depends on the status of champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, who retired from MMA following a successful title defense against Justin Gaethje at UFC 254 in October.

Nurmagomedov said that he promised his mother he wouldn’t fight again after the death of his father, Abdulmanap, but he’s still the official belt holder. There’s been rampant speculation about what it would take for White to lure “The Eagle” back to the octagon, and he’ll get a chance to make an in-person pitch in the coming days.

White reiterated he has a face-to-face meeting with Nurmagomedov lined up during the promotion’s upcoming three-event stretch in Abu Dhabi. The last of those cards features the bout between McGregor, the former UFC lightweight and featherweight champ, against Poirier, the former interim lightweight champ, which headlines UFC 257 on Jan. 23.

Whatever happens beyond that is going to be determined by White’s conversation with Nurmagomedov, and that’s why he said the UFC 257 main event winner is “probably” next for a title shot, and not definitive.

“It does (depend on what Nurmagomedov does),” White said. “I get on the plane next Monday and fly to Abu Dhabi. I don’t know when he gets there, but he and I are set to meet as soon as he arrives.”

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