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UFC sets Michael Chandler vs. Charles Oliveira fight for lightweight title vacated by Khabib Nurmagomedov

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UFC president Dana White finally acknowledged that lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov was officially retired late Thursday evening. Shortly thereafter, ESPN reported that UFC has booked a May 15 fight between Michael Chandler and Charles Oliveira for the now-vacant title.

“29-0 it is,” White tweeted. “He is 100 percent officially retired. It was incredible to watch you work @TeamKhabib thank you for EVERYTHING and enjoy whatever is next my friend.”

Chandler vs. Oliveira will determine the new champion at 155 pounds. It will be just the second fight in the promotion for Chandler, a former three-time Bellator champion.

Chandler made an impressive debut at UFC 257, knocking out Dan Hooker in 2:30. He entered the fight as an underdog but wasted little time showing off the power that allowed him to hold the Bellator lightweight title three times between 2011 and 2019.

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One pay-per-view earlier, Oliveira scored the biggest win of his career, dominating Tony Ferguson to score a clear unanimous decision victory. The win ran Oliveira’s current winning streak to eight. He also holds the record for most submissions in UFC history with 14.

Nurmagomedov announced his retirement following UFC 254 this past October. His long-stated goal was to retire with a perfect 30-0 record, but after the death of his father and longtime coach due to COVID-19 related complications, Khabib stated he did not want to continue his journey in the sport. White made multiple appeals to Nurmagomedov, including several in-person meetings, in an attempt to coax him back for one final fight.

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