UFC newbie Michael Chandler wants a four-man tournament to find a successor to Khabib Nurmagomedov.
The sport was stunned at the weekend when Khabib announced his retirement after securing a stoppage win against Justin Gaethje.
It meant the Russian defended his lightweight title, and extend his undefeated record in MMA to 29 fights.
But the Dagestani revealed after the victory that he had made a promise to his mother to call it quits just months after his father and trainer Abdulmanap died.
Now Chandler, the former Bellator star who was on standby if either of the main-eventers had to pull out at the weekend, wants a chance to succeed the great Khabib.
And he wants the legendary Conor McGregor in the mix too.
Speaking to BT Sport, the 34-year-old American said: "I’d love the opportunity to fight in a four-man tournament for that title.
“Conor [McGregor], [Dustin] Poirier, myself, [Tony] Ferguson. There’s some names that need to be fighting for a title, so let’s make it happen.
"Let’s be honest: I’m the new guy. I’m not going to come in here and say, ‘Hey guys I deserve a title shot.’ I’d love my name to be thrown into the mix.”
Khabib cemented his reputation as one of the world's best with a second round submission win over Gaethje at UFC 254.
Despite UFC president Dana White admitting he 'has no idea' what the future holds, SunSport believes the four fighters mentioned by Chandler, plus Gaethje who is still interim champ, are the main contenders for Khabib's crown.
After his stunning victory on Saturday night, Khabib broke down in tears as he remembered his father.
Abdulmanap died in July after complications having contracted coronavirus.
After the emotional win, the 29-0 superstar said: “Today, I want to say this is my last fight.
“When UFC called me about Justin, I spoke with my mother and I said I wouldn't fight without father.
“And if I give my word, then I must follow it. UFC must make me No1 pound for pound fighter in the world, because I deserve it."
And McGregor, despite his bitter rivaly with Khabib before and after his stoppage loss to the now-retired star, congratulated him on his performance while vowing to carry on the lightweight division.
He tweeted: "Good performance @TeamKhabib. I will carry on.
"Respect and condolences on your father again also. To you and family. Yours sincerely, The McGregors."
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