On October 7, in the main event of UFC 216, Tony Ferguson and Kevin Lee will collide for the UFC interim lightweight title. The announcement of this fight, of course, came as a bit of a surprise, as any interim lightweight title fight was expected to involve undefeated Dagestani star Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Apparently, however, the UFC was not interested in booking Ferguson vs. Nurmagomedov – perhaps due to Nurmagomedov’s unfortunately long history of withdrawing from fights.
Despite being excluded from this UFC 216 interim lightweight title fight, Nurmagomedov seems to be in good spirits. Speaking to MMAJunkie.com, the seemingly unstoppable Russian claimed that he doesn’t want to get involved in Ferguson and Lee’s trash talk, and that he wishes both guys luck.
“I know [Tony Ferguson and Kevin Lee] talk sh*t about everybody, but I don’t want this,” Nurmagomedov said. “I know this: Both guys are great athletes, good fighters. I’m going to say good luck, don’t get injured, and see you in December. Good luck, guys.”
That being said, Nurmagomedov was happy to make a prediction for the fight. Apparently, he’s leaning slightly toward Ferguson, but he believes the fight will go the distance.
It’s “60 [percent in favor of] Ferguson, 40 Kevin Lee ,” Nurmagomedov said. “I think these guys are going to fight all five rounds.”
At 24-0, Khabib Nurmagomedov has never lost a mixed martial arts bout. In his last fight, which occurred at UFC 205 in November, he bludgeoned the game Michael Johnson to a third-round submission win. This victory was preceded by lopsided beatings of Darrell Horcher, former champ Rafael Dos Anjos, Pat Healy, Abel Trujillo, Thiago Tavares, Gleison Tibau and Kamal Shalorus, all inside the Octagon.
Do you think Khabib Nurmagomedov will battle the winner of Tony Ferguson and Kevin Lee’s UFC 216 scrap?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 9/5/2017.