The UFC might be looking to pursue a fifth matchup between the current lightweight champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson.
There is still a lot of speculation surrounding Khabib Nurmagomedov’s next move, but Dana White has offered some insight. White says “The Eagle” has yet to cue him in on his plans, and that gives him hope.
“I hear these things, but Khabib hasn’t told me that (he’s going to sit out). I haven’t heard it from Khabib, so when we talk we’ll figure it out and we’ll see what happens.”
Nurmagomedov (27-0 MMA, 11-0 UFC) is currently facing a nine-month suspension from the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC). The NSAC suspended Khabib for his role in the post-match fight, following his win over Conor McGregor, at UFC 229 in October of 2018.
Khabib Nurmagomedov could be eligible to return as early as April. The NSAC is willing to shorten his suspension if he agrees to take part in an anti-bullying PSA. As of now, Nurmagomedov confirmed that he would not participate in the PSA. Moreover, he declined to compete until his teammates had served their one-year suspensions for participating in the October fight.
Even though Nurmagomedov has declined to take the offer to reduce his sentence, he has suggested that he expects the UFC to book a fight for him in the meantime. He suggested a matchup between Tony Ferguson (24-3 MMA, 14-1 UFC), who has already won an interim belt once before, and Dustin Poirier (24-5 MMA, 16-4 UFC).
While White does not anticipate a fight with Poirier, he believes Ferguson would be an ideal candidate.
“Of course Tony deserves it. He’s the No. 1 contender. He’s the guy. That’s the fight.”
Tony Ferguson is a former UFC Lightweight Champion. He also holds the record for most consecutive wins in UFC lightweight history (11). As of November, 2018, Ferguson ranks 13 in the official pound-for-pound ranking.