Lightweight contender Khabib Nurmagomedov has been on the shelf since defeating Michael Johnson on the preliminary card of UFC 205.
The Russian star wants a bout with UFC Interim Lightweight Champion Tony Ferguson at UFC 219, but he also wants to see McGregor versus Diaz 3.
“We have almost 12 weeks, 11 weeks before UFC 219,” Nurmagomedov said on The MMA Hour. “And now is the beginning a very interesting moment in my life. I hope UFC gives me a championship fight. End of the year, I want to take everything back. Attention, belts; I want to take everything. End of the year, I want to fix everything. And we’ll see what happens. But first of all, I think UFC has to make the fight, Conor versus Nate Diaz 3, and after, me and Tony. Because, my opinion, I think Tony Ferguson is the real champion. That’s why. I don’t think, if I fight versus Tony Ferguson, this is an interim belt. Officially, yes. But people want to see me versus Tony Ferguson. I think this is a much better fight, for everything. If I beat Tony Ferguson and take the interim championship belt — Conor’s the official champion, but he’s not the people’s champion.”
Ferguson just competed earlier this month at UFC 216, where he defeated Kevin Lee by submission to win the interim lightweight title.
Nurmagomedov also has a special message that he would like to give to the UFC Interim Lightweight Champion.
“And I want to send a message: Enjoy this belt. He deserves this, 10 (fight) win streak. My opinion, he’s the real champ, and he has to fight with me. We have to fight, and we have to do this fight for all the fans. Now I am ready, now I am healthy. Last time, I made the problem. This is my fault, last time. I know this. But before, he pulled out too. You have to remember this. Now he’s the real champ. Enjoy this. See you at the end of the year,” says Nurmagomedov.
As far as the McGregor and Diaz trilogy go, it was Diaz who scored the win at UFC 196 and then McGregor got revenge at UFC 202.