With the interim UFC lightweight title fight moving forward with Tony Ferguson and Kevin Lee, we at least further distanced ourselves from the heartbreak of Khabib Nurmagomedov. We’ve been robbed of seeing this Russian sambo destroyer in action for awhile now, but the UFC has been trying to make a fight with him and Ferguson happen since 2015. Only one of these instances could be attributed to Tony Ferguson. However, this recent news reopens all those old wounds. Sean Shelby recently revealed that it could have been Nurmagomedov fighting for the interim title at Madison Square Garden, but he turned it down.
“Just to clear things up, a fight was offered to [Khabib] Nurmagomedov on November 4th [UFC 217] and at that point we were trying to put cards together towards the end of the year. I was informed that he could not make that date. He probably wouldn’t be able to fight until at least December. That left Tony [Ferguson] without a dance partner and it’s not just about one guy, it’s about two guys.”
— Tony Ferguson (@TonyFergusonXT) September 28, 2017
“So, we backed Tony [Ferguson] up and Kevin Lee was there and I mean, look at his resume as of late. He’s a phenomenal fighter, he’s doing fantastic. Right now, I think he’s the hottest thing in the division. At first I thought he was just an overachiever, but I’m a believer now. He’s got just a wicked aggressive style. And then, what can’t you say about Ferguson? He’s all over the place. He’s one of the most — I think the most dynamic guy in the division right now.” — UFC matchmaker Sean Shelby said on ‘The Watch List’.
Looks like everything Tony Ferguson said about Khabib Nurmagomedov having to wait on the sidelines while a title is on the line has a little more impact now. UFC 217 was already incredibly stacked, even if Nurmagomedov/Ferguson replaced one of the three title fights on the card instead of making an unheard of four title fights, it could still end up card of the year. Next weekend, the interim belt holder will be decided, but it looks like we’ll have to wait until early next year until Nurmagomedov fights again.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 9/29/2017.