Esther Lin, MMA Fighting
The fifth time might be the charm in the seemingly cursed fight between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson.
After four previous attempts to put the fight together fell apart due to injuries and weight-cutting errors, UFC president Dana White declared Ferguson as next in line to face Nurmagomedov for the lightweight title following Nurmagomedov’s win over Dustin Poirier on Saturday night.
“Yeah he’s next. Tony Ferguson is next in line for the fight if he accepts the fight,” White said at the UFC 242 post fight press conference. “We’ll see how this thing plays out when Khabib will fight again and if Tony wants the fight.”
Ferguson has won 12 fights in a row and he made it clear prior to UFC 242 that he wanted to face the winner of Nurmagomedov vs. Poirier.
Of course, White tossing in the possible caveat of Ferguson not accepting the fight seems to throw a wrinkle into the long awaited showdown against Nurmagomedov happening with 100 percent certainty.
It seems highly unlikely Ferguson would actually turn down the fight but negotiations would still need to take place before any potential title shot against Nurmagomedov could be set in stone.
If the worst case scenario happens and Ferguson doesn’t end up with the shot against Nurmagomedov, White likes the idea of former two-division champion Conor McGregor returning for a rematch of the most profitable fight in UFC history.
“Tony Ferguson gets the next shot and obviously if for whatever reason Tony can’t take the fight or doesn’t want the fight at that time then we would figure out what was next but Conor would make a lot of sense,” White said.
“Conor McGregor wants that fight really badly and I’m sure the fans would want to see it. So we’ll see how this whole thing plays out.”
McGregor has been teasing his return to action before the end of 2019 as he recovers from a broken hand suffered in training earlier this year.
He’s made it clear that a rematch against Nurmagomedov is the fight he wants most and McGregor is willing to travel to his opponent’s home country to get it.
“Book my rematch for Moscow,” McGregor wrote on Twitter:
Book my rematch for Moscow.
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) September 7, 2019
For now, McGregor remains behind Ferguson in line for the next shot at the title but he’s already putting word out that he’s ready for a rematch against Nurmagomedov when the time comes.
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