Tony Ferguson Off UFC 223, Max Holloway Steps Into Fight Khabib Nurmagomedov For 155 Pound Title; Ferguson Comments

It would appear that UFC Interim Lightweight Champion Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov are never going to meet inside of the Octagon.

UFC President Dana White has announced that Ferguson has been pulled from UFC 223, replacing him against Nurmagomedov is going to be UFC Featherweight Champion Max Holloway.

White would make the announcement through a brief video posted on Twitter:

The UFC President says that Ferguson suffered a knee injury in the Twitter video, while Ariel Helwani of MMA Fighting says the injury occurred a few days ago. The injury in question is a torn LCL, which was pulled from the bone. As a result, the 34-year old Ferguson will be forced to undergo surgery.

Holloway (19-3-0) is going to be entering the fight on the strength of a twelve bout winning streak and he hasn’t suffered a loss in almost five years. Holloway has already defended the UFC Featherweight Title once, defeating former champion Jose Aldo by third round TKO at UFC 218. Holloway is competing as a lightweight for the first time in the UFC, but he has fought UFC Lightweight Champion Conor McGregor in a featherweight division affair at UFC Fight Night 26.

Nurmagomedov (25-0-0) has already earned nine wins in UFC competition, last defeating Edson Barboza by decision at UFC 219. Nurmagomedov has been inactive in recent years due to injuries, having competed only three times since 2014. Nurmagomedov would also be competing for a title for the first time in his professional MMA career, which has lasted almost a decade now.

Ferguson took to Twitter to issue a statement on the situation:

The fight will be for the UFC Lightweight Championship, currently held by an inactive Conor McGregor. White clarified in an interview that ESPN that once the fight actually took place, the wheels would be set in motion as it relates to making a decision about McGregor's status as champion. In a strange bit of irony, Holloway holds a title that McGregor held and never lost as well. The UFC is far from out of the woods, as Khabib Nurmagomedov has had weight cutting issues in the past, and if he were to miss weight but still compete, he'd be ineligible for the championship at UFC 223. Both Holloway and Nurmagomedov have used Tyler Minton as a nutritionist recently.

UFC 223 takes place on Saturday, April 7 from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York with Max Holloway and Khabib Nurmagomedov headlining. Fightful is providing live coverage of the event, with a post-show podcast to follow.

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