Since Conor McGregor won the UFC lightweight championship by TKOing Eddie Alvarez in the main event of UFC 205 back in November, there has been much talk regarding who McGregor will face next as he will have to defend his lightweight title.
With that being said, McGregor revealed at the UFC 205 post-fight press conference that he will be taking some time off due to the upcoming birth of his firstborn child in May. That was followed up by a statement from UFC President Dana White, who stated that McGregor would be taking 10 months off from fighting. That was refuted by McGregor this week, who revealed that his ‘break’ could very well just be a Christmas break.
With that being said, the lightweight division’s title picture has been rather confusing. While it appeared as though the UFC would book Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Tony Ferguson for an interim title fight, it was then reported that Nate Diaz was offered an interim title fight against ‘The Eagle’ while Ferguson held out for more money from the UFC. That was then refuted when UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo stated that Nurmagomedov turned down an interim lightweight title fight with him.
While the UFC has maintained radio silence on the matter, it was revealed that UFC officials met in with Russian officials in hopes of bringing the Octagon to Russia in 2017. This led many fans to believe that Nurmagomedov would likely be one of the men involved in the interim featherweight title fight.
With that being said, UFC President Dana White revealed during an interview with FOX5 that it may not be an interim lightweight title fight:
“We’re focused very heavily on Russia right now,” White said. “First of all, there’s tons of talent coming out of Russia, and a lot of fans. There’s a fighter named Khabib who’s from Russia, and he’s insanely popular. The next fight could be Conor vs. Khabib.”
Only time will tell if the UFC moves forward with the McGregor-Nurmagomedov fight, or if the idea is merely being used as a negotiation tactic.