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Khabib Nurmagomedov fires back at Jose Aldo: Tony Ferguson is the real battle, not 'little' you

MMA: UFC 205-Nurmagomedov vs Johnson Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Current Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) featherweight champion Jose Aldo recently insinuated that Khabib Nurmagomedov turned down the chance to fight him for the interim lightweight title, which was targeted to go down in early 2017.

And while "The Eagle" didn’t confirm or deny it, one can interpret his recent Instagram post as he did, since he tells the Brazilian bomber that he "doesn’t bully the little" and advises him to stay in his lane.

Check it out:

Aldo says, referring to me, that I refused to fight with him. Tell him that I do not bully the little. I want a real battle, and only Tony can give it to me. At this stage of my career, even if I win Daniel Cormier, fans will say that I have to fight with Tony, and I agree with them. I have spent my career in the UFC asking for the strongest opponents, currently in this division we must decide who is stronger, me or Tony? Without exception, all the fans and experts want to see this fight and I want to give it to them. And you, Aldo, I advise you not to lose the respect of your fans, including me, do not lose your head, do not fall for the mind games of the UFC, and be yourself. ❗ Альдо говорит намекая на меня, что я отказался от боя с ним. Передайте ему, что я маленьких не обижаю. Я хочу реальный бой, и это Тони. На данном этапе моей карьеры если даже я выиграю Даниеля Кормье, фанаты будут говорить, что мне надо подраться с Тони, и я с ними согласен. Я всю свою карьеру в UFC прошу самых сильных соперников, в данный момент в легком весе мне и Тони надо определиться, кто сильнее, я первый номер в рейтинге а Тони второй. Без исключения все фанаты и специалисты хотят этого боя, и я хочу подарить им это. А тебе Альдо я советую не терять уважение от своих фанатов, и в том числе от меня, не теряй голову, не подставляйся под игры UFC, и будь собой. #юфсишныеигрыопятьвтеме @ufc

A photo posted by Khabib Nurmagomedov (@khabib_nurmagomedov) on

Of course, a fight between Khabib and Tony Ferguson has been booked several times only to fall through because of injuries to both parties. But seeing as they are the No. 1 and No. 2 ranked fighters in the world, respectively, it seems that fight is the next logical one to make.

Which raises the question: Why would UFC even bother trying to book an interim lightweight title with the featherweight champion and the No. 1 ranked fighter at 155 pounds?

The answer could be pretty simple, as one can assume that they are trying to give Aldo the same opportunity given to Conor McGregor — who won the 155-pound belt while he was still ruler at featherweight by knocking out Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205 — to keep him happy.

And since Max Holloway is unfit to compete in a title unification match against Aldo at UFC 208 on Feb. 11, 2017, it seems an interim 155-pound title fight for Aldo was the next option for UFC matchmakers. Which is baffling, really, since you have two top contenders in Ferguson and Nurmagomedov ready to bang it out with one another, perhaps for the interim strap.

Then again, it could simply be for a No. 1 contender’s spot, as "Notorious" could be back into the mix sooner, rather than later.

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