The 155 pound division is probably Mixed Martial Arts’ most stacked division, and the UFC apparently tried to book a lightweight tournament involving four of their biggest stars. As part of a report by MMA Fighting, the promotion wanted to have Khabib Nurmagomedov fight Conor McGregor in the fall and Georges St-Pierre vs Nate Diaz on August, with the two winners facing off at the end of the year.
The lucrative idea didn’t come to fruition though, with the previously reported bout between GSP and Diaz falling through. While the two fighters publicly expressed disinterest in facing off with each other, and the report also stated that one of may reasons it hasn’t happened is St-Pierre’s ulcerative colitis still not being completely healed.
“I’m not ready to fight yet,” St-Pierre said. “I need to wait until all the symptoms of my ulcer stop. It’s much better than it was but it’s not 100 percent yet. If I try to return for a training camp for a fight it will amplify and go back to what it was in the beginning. I need to get over this first for my own health and safety.”
The report states that Diaz would still want to compete later this year, but there’s no opponent in mind just yet.
As for what would’ve been the other side of the bracket, Khabib vs McGregor could still happen in Las Vegas this fall, but the Irishman still has to get past his legal issues from the incident in Brooklyn before any bout could be finalized.
Plans for the tournament haven’t completely been shelved as MMA Fighting says things are still developing for the four men. But as of now, Khabib’s camp has also been pushing for a match up with St-Pierre instead, which they call a “legacy” bout.
The UFC, which started their promotion doing one-night tournaments, hasn’t really had a similar format in a while, outside of their The Ultimate Fighter reality show. Their last iteration was a flyweight tournament in 2012 that crowned their first (and still the only) flyweight champion in Demetrious Johnson. The UFC also had a similar 4-man lightweight tournament that spanned two events in 2003. It saw B.J. Penn battle to a draw with Caol Uno in the finals.