It has been quite a longtime since the UFC had put together a tournament outside of the UFC Ultimate Fighter reality show, but that almost changed this year.
According to a report from MMA Fighting, a plan was underway to hold a four man lightweight tournament featuring UFC Lightweight Champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, former two division champion Georges St. Pierre, Nate Diaz and former two division champion Conor McGregor.
The plan fell apart when GSP had refused to fight Diaz, which was tentatively set for UFC 227 this August. GSP has also been battling ulcerative colitis, which had forced him to relinquish the UFC Middleweight Title earlier this year. Nurmagomedov and McGregor would then have fought McGregor this Fall, with the winners facing off in the finals before the end of the year.
While it is unlikely GSP faces Diaz, hope is still being held out that the promotion can put together a bout between Nurmagomedov and McGregor by the end of 2018.
If the tournament had been put together, it would have marked the lightweight division debut for Georges St. Pierre. The last time the UFC held a tournament was when the promotion created the men’s flyweight title and that tournament was won by Demetrious Johnson, other tournament participants includes Joseph Benavidez, Ian McCall and Yasuhiro Urushitani.