Former UFC Interim Lightweight Champion Tony Ferguson was reportedly in the title fight before getting replaced by Poirier for turning down the bout according to UFC President Dana White.
Khabib Nurmagomedov, who is expected to defend the lightweight title against the winner this fall, had issued the following message to Ferguson via Instagram:
I want to remind you guys, that before I become champion, I was close to the title fight 3 times and all 3 times I missed my opportunity. First was in July 2016 when I was offered to fight in Ramadan month and I turned it down, second was UFC 205 NYC when I was offered a title fight, bout agreement signed, but my title was given away, you know the story. Third time was UFC 209 where I was hospitalized and almost died. But after every single fail I were said: you missed your chance, earn your shot with one more victory. Tony you had your chance and you missed it, and that’s your fault only. You know that I’m disqualified and can’t fight, but it’s not fair to strip me off the title, I fought 3 times in 9 months. I won and defended my belt. As a fighter you deserve a title fight, you are great fighter and opponent, but now you have to fight or wait for my DQ to be over and fight(but UFC doesn’t want it). I don’t understand your offenses, if you fell down, you got to get up, not complain. #ufc #mma #ufclightweight
UFC 236 takes place on Saturday, April 13 from the State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia with Max Holloway and Tony Ferguson headlining. Fightful is providing live coverage of the event, with a post-show podcast to follow.