Eddie Alvarez is perhaps the only other lightweight that has a title claim, but he may need to get past Poirier first.
While it may sound like a far-away possibility with Nurmagomedov seemingly headed for a vast grudge match with former champ Conor McGregor, UFC President Dana White was understandably complimentary of "The Diamond" when discussing the insane match-up at UFC on FOX 29 with Megan Olivi during the post-fight show on FOX Sports 2.
Despite still being relatively young at 29 years old, Dustin Poirier has been in the UFC for a long time - debuting in 2012, six years ago.
Poirier suffered more pain in the third round when Gaethje was docked a point for an accidental eye poke, which required the attention of the ringside doctor. He survived and won with a big left hand, moving a step closer to his title shot.
Poirier appeared willing to fight on despite the effect it had on his vision and argued with the cageside doctor and referee to continue.
"I'm content with what just happened, as insane and as stupid as that sounds", said Gaethje, the No. 6 lightweight. "I just stayed tough and believed in myself, got it done". "I will be known and remembered as one of the most entertaining fighters that ever did it". I go in there to entertain people This is the entertainment business.More news: Accusers confront Bill Cosby, and they aren't holding back
Gaethje earned the nickname "The Highlight" for his hyper aggressive style, but Poirier took the fight to him.
Poirier connected on 174 significant strikes in the bout, with 142 of those going to the head alone of Gaethje.
Poirier added: "This guy [Gaethje] would have died in here if Herb Dean hadn't stopped it".
"I want to fight for gold, man", Poirier told MMAjunkie. I felt so comfortable in there, best I ever felt.
The end came when Poirier landed a left hand that stunned Gaethje. Michelle Waterson opened the main card with a split-decision victory over Cortney Casey in a technical straw weight fight.