Khabib Nurmagomedov, undefeated lightweight powerhouse has made it very clear that UFC champ Conor McGregor must earn his way back into a title-fight after UFC 223.
UFC president Dana White left fight fans scratching their heads with his remarks at a UFC 223 press conference on Friday night.
During the press conference, Dana White announced that the winner of Ferguson v Nurmagomedov will be crowned UFC lightweight champion but at the same time McGregor is still the champion.
On being asked if the winner would be granted the lightweight belt, White stated: “I have no update, the winner of this fight will be the champion.
“The division has to go on. These guys have been fighting their whole career. Everybody wants to get to that pinnacle and it’s the fair thing to do.”
After the press conference, speaking to Canadian network TSN, White was asked if Conor McGregor is still technically champion, to which he replied: “Correct.”
Khabib Nurmagomedov is also speaking to TSN that after he beats Tony Ferguson, McGregor will not be a top priority for him.
“(Ferguson is) still interim champion, but when we fight, it will count as real belt. This is what will happen,”
“They stripped (Conor’s) belt at lightweight, they stripped his featherweight belt. (Me and Tony) are going to fight for the real belt and that’s it,” he said. “I don’t understand why media people keep talking like, ‘did you strip him or no?’. Of course UFC stripped him.”
Khabib went further to drop the bombshell that he might not give McGregor a shot at the title after he wins it this April.
“Now, he has to deserve a title shot,” he said about McGregor. “My plan, beat Tony Ferguson and then UFC are going to try and put McGregor next in line? No, he has to deserve it. I’m going to tell him ‘hey, get in line.’”