Tony Ferguson, an interim champ, and undefeated Khabib Nurmagomedov have been booked for what promises to be the greatest lightweight title fight in history. UFC 223 is set to take place on April 7th at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
UFC brass Dana White recently said the winner of the fight will be the undisputed lightweight champion.
The confusion is that White did not say the promotion had stripped or would strip, Conor McGregor of his undisputed lightweight title. McGregor won the title back in November 2016 against Eddie Alvarez and has yet to defend the title.
Khabib Nurmagomedov, who is unbeaten in his 25-fight career, is confident he will beat Ferguson. He’s also sure Conor McGregor if he does return to the UFC octagon, will have to wait in line for a title shot.
Nurmagomedov told RT Sport:
“Inshallah, when I beat Tony Ferguson, I’m gonna make [McGregor] a little bit humble and he have to stay on the line,” Nurmagomedov said. “He have to stay on the line, because he only have one fight at 155. And he want to fight for the title? No, no way. When I become UFC lightweight champ, I’m gonna say, ‘Hey, who is real contender? Who has five, six, seven win streak?’ They have to fight for the title, not for you. We’ll see what happens. But I don’t think he’ll ever fight with me. I think they understand what’s gonna happen.”
Khabib believes that he is fighting for the undisputed title in two months against Ferguson.
“This is not Conor belt,” Nurmagomedov said of the UFC 223 main event. “This is not interim Tony Ferguson belt. This is [undisputed] belt. And after when we fight April 7, April 8, they’re gonna make it official. Who wins becomes real champ. Now, Tony Ferguson is still interim champion. And Conor McGregor, they call him champion, but he isn’t champ. Whoever wins is gonna become real champ.”
Khabib Nurmagomedov who has established himself one of the best grapplers in the MMA today and recently coming off a dominant win over Edson Barboza at UFC 219 this past December. As for his upcoming fight, he is confident and not worried at all about what Tony Ferguson can bring to the table regarding grappling.
“I don’t think he has better jiu-jitsu than me, better grappling,” Nurmagomedov said of Ferguson. “I think he’s unpredictable a little bit. He has very good knee, very good elbow. But I don’t think he ever fight with somebody like me, who have like pressure, top control, good everywhere. Strong. When we go to the cage, when cage close, we’re gonna show this. Me and Tony Ferguson is different level.”
Do you think Khabib will grab that belt from Tony Ferguson?