Predicting Future UFC Lightweight Contenders

The Lightweight Division in the UFC for many years was dominated by one man: Khabib Nurmagomedov. He was a destroyer of men and no one really posed that much of a threat. But since defeating Justin Gaethje and retiring afterward, the division is now run by Charles Oliveira. But with a gauntlet forming underneath him, how long can he stay on top of the 155lb division? Let’s take a look at three fighters I have pegged as future UFC Lightweight Prospects. If you want to read our featherweight post, check it out here.

Islam Makhachev

19-1 #9 Age: 29

I imagine if you took Khabib and ran him through a cloning device, out would come Islam Makhachev. Think about it: Sambo World Champion, fighting out of Russia, predominantly a wrestler, trains at American Kickboxing Academy (one of the best gyms in the world). He is a carbon copy of Khabib, and he mauls people all the same. Makhachev has not lost since 2015 and his most recent win over Drew Dober in March of this year vaulted him into the top 10. If he continues down this path, he can be a world champion without a shadow of a doubt. I wonder what a Sambo match would look like between him and Nurmagomedov?

Brad Riddell

10-1 Unranked Age: 29

Speaking of fighters who have defeated Drew Dober, City Kickboxing’s Brad Riddell is undefeated during his tenure in the UFC. Known for having punching power in both of his hands, Riddell will always look to keep the fight standing and punish his opponents. His performance against Dober on the 12th of June was a showcase for “Quake” taking down a good-looking prospect. I can see Riddell cracking the top 15 with a win of this caliber and a bigger fight on the horizon.

Paddy Pimblett

16-3 Unranked Age: 26

My love for Paddy Pimblett is well known by this point but I will say it again: I pounded the table for “The Baddy” to get his shot in the UFC and he has signed with the company. The scouser has always been known to put on an absolute show for the fan, never a disappointment in his fights. Having more finishes than decisions (5 KO/TKO & Submissions to 4 decisions), Pimblett is always the aggressor and will look to push the pace. I can see a situation where his first fight with the UFC is against a top 10 opponent, which would not make other fighters on the roster happy but who cares? Pimblett is an absolute draw, and he should have a rocket strapped to his back and pushed to the moon.

Have any other UFC Lightweight Prospects you think I missed? Let me know on Twitter.

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