November was an incredible month for the UFC lightweight division. The most important moment of the month, of course, was Conor McGregor’s title-winning destruction of Eddie Alvarez. That said, the month also included huge wins from top contenders Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov, who defeated top-flight foes in Rafael Dos Anjos and Michael Johnson respectively.
Under normal circumstances, McGregor would now have his sights set on a defense against either Ferguson or Nurmagomedov – though it’s difficult to say who of these two talents deserves the opportunity more. Instead, however, the Irish champion is taking a break from competition to start a family with longtime girlfriend Dee Devlin. While McGregor takes this paternity leave, Ferguson, Nurmagomedov, and the lightweight division’s other contenders have been left to squabble amongst themselves while they wait for their absentee champion to return.
The logical fix to this situation would be an interim title fight between Ferguson and Nurmagomedov, who have been scheduled to fight several times to no avail in the past. This way, the lightweight division would have a champion in McGregor’s stead, and the Irishman would have an obvious opponent to take on upon his return.
According to several recent reports, this potential interim lightweight title fight has nearly been finalized for UFC 209 in Las Vegas on March 4. Apparently, however, these reports are not accurate. Speaking to Ariel Helwani, Nurmagomedov’s manager Ali Abdelaziz assured that any reports of this fight are “100% not true” and “fraud.”
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) December 26, 2016
So, while a Nurmagomedov vs. Ferguson bout is still likely in the works, it’s far from a done-deal at this stage.
Should this bout occur, Ferguson would step onto the canvas on a fantastic, 9-fight streak, including wins over Gleison Tibau, Josh Thomson, Edson Barboza, Lando Vannata and Dos Anjos. Nurmagomedov, meanwhile, would enter this prospective showdown with a ridiculous 24-0 record, including recent wins over Johnson, Dos Anjos, Pat Healy, Abel Trujillo, and Thiago Tavares.
Do you want to see Nurmagomedov and Ferguson fight for the interim title? If they do, who do you think comes out on top? Sound off, PENN Nation!