Khabib Nurmagomedov Will Not Settle for the Interim Belt

Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov

Ever since Khabib Nurmagomedov put on a dominating performance against Edson Barboza, he’s continued to dominate headlines. From being slated for a high-profile fight with Tony Ferguson, to Conor McGregor’s coach watching footage of his fights, to an epic first-ever Russian UFC card, you can’t look anywhere without seeing Nurmagomedov’s name. Everyone is wondering what is next for the Russian Sambo machine, but it seems like his manager already knows. It looks like the plan is to indeed skip Ferguson and go straight to McGregor, unless the belt is stripped and a fight with Tony is for the true UFC lightweight title.

“Khabib [Nurmagomedov]’s next fight, we’re not fighting for no damn interim belt. We want the real belt, or we don’t want nothing. We appreciate everything the UFC has done for us, but it’s time for a real belt. Nobody is interested in fighting for a fake belt. Tony Ferguson has a fake belt. Nobody wants this.” — Ali Abdelaziz, Khabib Nurmagomedov’s manager, speaking to MMA Fighting.

Just like Conor McGregor can hold out on the right deal, Khabib Nurmagomedov and his team are sitting out to make sure they get what they want. Either Nurmagomedov fights Tony Ferguson for an undisputed title that is stripped from McGregor, or fights the Irish ‘Champ Champ’ himself. As fans in 2018, we’re hoping both fights happen: One in April and the other one in September at that Russian card. Who knows what will end up happening though, which is why we stay glued in to the chaos. Either way, be it Ferguson or McGregor, everyone wants to see who Nurmagomedov fights next.

This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 1/12/2018.