“I haven’t talked to Khabib [Nurmagomedov] but we’ll get it figured out,” UFC President Dana White told ESPN’s Brett Okamoto following the UFC 234 pre-fight press conference. “I don’t know what he wants or what he’s looking for right now. We haven’t even tried. But we’ll get it figured out.
“Yeah, it probably would [make an interim title necessary if Khabib sits out nine-months for his teammates]. It probably would. Yeah. We’ll see how it plays out. I haven’t heard Khabib say any of that. He hasn’t said to me. So when I hear these things that come back from reporters, or fans, or whatever, ‘Oh, I heard this and that,’ … I haven’t heard that.
“He hasn’t said that to me, so we’ll deal with it when we deal with it.”
For the current reigning undefeated UFC lightweight champion of the world, Khabib Nurmagomedov, he won’t be eligible to return to action until April at the earliest following his suspension from the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
However, due to his teammates Zubaira Tukhugov and Abubakar Nurmagomedov’s suspensions, he has said he isn’t willing to return until they’re suspensions are up as well. Meaning he could go a whole year without fighting as he is eying a fight in November at Madison Square Garden next, according to his manager.
Because of that, it would create a hole at the top of the 155-pound division that would seemingly get filled with yet another interim title.
Whether or not that will actually happen remains to be seen, but if one thing is for sure, the two most likely candidates to fight over the title would be the red-hot Dustin ‘The Diamond’ Poirier and the former interim champ Tony Ferguson.
Regardless, it all comes down to Khabib Nurmagomedov.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 2/8/2019