With UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor currently taking a hiatus from competition to father his first child, the lightweight limelight is shining on two men: Dagestan’s Khabib Nurmagomedov, and California’s Tony Ferguson.
Under normal circumstances, either man could easily be argued to be deserving of the next shot at the lightweight title. Because the champion is currently out of the picture, however, they’ve shifted their focus to one another. For weeks, it has been rumored that the two streaking lightweights will fight for the division’s interim title sometime in the first quarter of 2017, and they’ve spiced these rumors up with plenty of trash talk on social media.
According to UFC President Dana White, Ferguson is not opposed to the fight in theory, but won’t accept it unless he’s paid the exact same amount as Nurmagomedov.
Dana White says Tony Ferguson agreed to fight Khabib Nurmagomedov but only for exactly what Khabib makes. Says "that ain't happening."
— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) December 28, 2016
Evidently eager to make this fight happen, Nurmagomedov has come up with what he believes is a simple solution. He’s offered to pay Ferguson an extra $200,000 to accept the fight – out of his own pocket.
— khabib nurmagomedov (@TeamKhabib) January 2, 2017
Whether this is a legitimate offer or a bluff remains to be seen. Either way, however, it adds an interesting twist to the ongoing Nurmagomedov vs. Ferguson narrative.
When we last saw Nurmagomedov in action, he improved his record to a ridiculous 24-0 with a third round submission defeat of Michael Johnson at UFC 205 in New York City. Ferguson, meanwhile, was last seen in action one week before UFC 205, when he defeated former champion Rafael Dos Anjos in the main event of the UFC’s latest trip to Mexico. With this win, Ferguson extended his current win-streak to 9.
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