Khabib Nurmagomedov defeated Conor McGregor via fourth round submission at UFC 229 to sucessfully defend the UFC Lightweight Title, while former interim lightweight champion Tony Ferguson defeated Anthony Pettis in the co-main event.
UFC President Dana White says that when Nurmagomedov defends the gold next, it will come against Ferguson.
“As a fight fan, you’ve gotta go with Tony,” White said to ESPN. “Tony had the belt, tweaked his knee, got stripped, (McGregor vs. Nurmagomedov) happens. Tony never lost the belt in a fight. Neither did Conor, but Conor actually got the opportunity to fight for the belt. I think Tony deserves the next shot.”
Ferguson and Nurmagomedov have been booked against each other multiple times under the UFC banner, but the bouts never came to fruition for a variety of reasons. The first, back in 2015, was pulled due to a Khabib rib injury, while April 2016 was canceled because Ferguson was hurt. In March 2017, Khabib was hospitalized from complications due to a weight cut, and April 2018, Ferguson tore his knee.
Nurmagomedov recently challenged retired boxer Floyd Mayweather to a boxing match, but White says that the UFC has yet to be approached about that happening.
“First of all, the Mayweather team has not approached us at all,” White said. “Again, Khabib is under contract with the UFC. We haven’t talked to anybody from the Mayweather team.”
It could be awhile before Nurmagomedov fights anywhere, as the lightweight champion is awaiting punishment from the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) for the post-fight brawl at UFC 229.