It appears like UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov’s next title defense will be against Tony Ferguson.
That’s according to Khabib’s manager Ali Abdelaziz who responded to a fan on Twitter late Friday evening.
This also comes after UFC President Dana White told ESPN that this matchup needs to take place next.
“What I think needs to happen is Khabib versus Tony Ferguson, do Conor [McGregor] and ‘Cowboy’ [Donald Cerrone] and if they both come out of that, we do the rematch.”
Khabib Nurmagomedov (27-0) has been booked to fight Ferguson on four separate occasions. The first was at The Ultimate Fighter 22 Finale in Dec. 2015 however a rib injury to Nurmagomedov forced him out of that fight. The UFC later tried to book the matchup the following April at UFC on FOX 19 before an injury took Ferguson out of the matchup. Once again they were slated to meet at UFC 209 in Mar. 2017 before Nurmagomedov was hospitalized due to weight cut complications. Their most recent scheduled booking came last April at UFC 223 before Ferguson tripped over a cable and injured his knee. The American Kickboxing Academy product would go on to defeat Al Iaquinta by unanimous decision to capture the vacant lightweight title.
Earlier this week the Nevada State Athletic Commission finally ruled on their disciplinary action for Nurmagomedov following his actions after UFC 229. The 30-year-old was fined $500,000 for his actions in the post-fight brawl. In addition he was suspended for nine months but it can be reduced to six if he completes an approved anti-bullying public service announcement.
Tony Ferguson (24-3) was stripped of his UFC interim lightweight title after he was injured prior to UFC 223 last April. “El Cucuy” recently defeated former champion Anthony Pettis at UFC 229 via second-round TKO. The 34-year-old is currently riding an 11-fight win streak and hasn’t lost a fight since May 2012.
Could a fifth time be the charm? Do you think Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson will fight with year?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 2/1/2019.