It seems as if the UFC lightweight division is almost destined for cloudiness among the top of the heap.
In April 2018, undefeated 27-0 dominator Khabib ‘The Eagle’ Nurmagomedov finally claimed the top spot as the undisputed lightweight champion by defeating Al Iaquinta.
Initially, rather than Iaquinta, it was supposed to be the former interim champion Tony ‘El Cucuy’ Ferguson facing off against Nurmagomedov. Unfortunately, a freak injury knocked Ferguson out of action all the way until October. This would be the fourth time that the pair has had one of their fights canceled.
Also taking place in October was Khabib Nurmagomedov’s first title defense when he would take on Conor McGregor in one of the most heated grudge matches in MMA history.
For the defending Nurmagomedov, he would do just that as he finished the former champion in the fourth round with a neck crank.
In the fight directly before that one at UFC 229, however, Ferguson got back to showing why he was as highly touted as he is by stopping Anthony Pettis before the third round in an action-packed affair. Thus presumably once again setting up him and Nurmagomedov for yet another attempted meeting…
But according to Nurmagomedov’s manager Ali Abdelaziz, this fight doesn’t seem to be what they’re looking for.
“The biggest money fight he can make [is what we’re looking for],” Abdelaziz told MMAFighting. “At the end of the day, Khabib doesn’t need to fight anybody else for his legacy. He’s done what he’s done. He’s 27-0, he’s 12-0 in the UFC, he’s never been dropped, he’s never been caught, he’s never been knocked down. Let’s talk about a GOAT. No PEDs. We talk about the greatest of all-time, I think that he should be on top of the list, because he never lost to anybody. He’s never lost, he’s never been dropped, he’s never been stitched, nothing.
“So [we want] the biggest money fight he can make. Boxing, MMA, whatever. I love Tony Ferguson — he’s not that, I can tell you that. One-hundred percent, Tony Ferguson is not the next fight, because Tony Ferguson — I need somebody who can sell pay-per-views. At the end of the day, it will be the exact same situation. Khabib was supposed to fight Eddie Alvarez, remember that? When he got taken out [in place of McGregor], we understood it because Conor’s going to bring pay-per-views. We need people who can help us sell pay-per-views, and that’s it.”
Believe it or not, it continues to seem that Khabib Nurmagomedov and crew are more interested in a cross-sport boxing match with the likes of Floyd Mayweather rather than any MMA fight. Time will tell if that actually ends up happening.
All we know for now is that the lightweight king is still awaiting his likely fine and suspension from the Nevada State Athletic Commission for his post-fight antics at UFC 229 when he defeated McGregor.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 1/2/2019