UFC interim lightweight champion Tony Ferguson fight top-ranked contender Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 223, UFC President Dana White announced. Not only will the fight happen but it sounds as if current champion Conor McGregor will be stripped of his belt and this fight will be for the title.
“That fight is going to happen,” White said. “It will happen.” The announcement came today on Boston’s “Toucher and Rich” show. UFC is in Boston for this weekend’s UFC 220 fight card headlined by two title fights.
Following this past weekend’s UFC in St. Louis, White talked about champion Conor McGregor’s absence from the sport. McGregor did not compete in MMA in 2017. Instead he opted for the blockbuster boxing bout against Floyd Mayweather Jr.
“If he comes back in September, that’s almost two years (since his last MMA fight),” White said.
“That can’t happen. It’s not fair to everybody else.
Tony Ferguson vs Khabib Nurmagomedov set, Conor to be stripped
“Love Conor, respect Conor, love everything that he’s done for this company. Everybody knows that. I say it all the time. (But) the belt would have to move on. You do Khabib vs. Tony; we’re working on that fight now. If and when Conor comes back, he would get the first crack at the title.”
UFC 223 takes place April 7 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., and the main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.