Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President Dana White has been teasing a lightweight title fight between reigning division champion Conor McGregor and top contender Khabib Nurmagomedov, for what seems like an eternity.
Even if it means going to Russia to get it done.
While “The Eagle” is no closer to getting his “Notorious” title fight, he at least has a defined path to reach that goal. And it starts with turning away interim champion Tony Ferguson at the UFC 223 pay-per-view (PPV) this April in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Then it’s time to say goodbye, according to coach Ali Abdelaziz.
“I don’t care if Conor’s stripped or not stripped,” he told TMZ. “I know that April 7, Khabib will fight for the lightweight belt and Conor’s belt will go in the trash. Khabib’s probably gonna retire undefeated because he’s gonna beat Conor, he’s gonna beat Tony, and he’s probably gonna say ‘bye-bye.’”
Posturing aside, that’s a fairly tall order.
Ferguson (23-3) has won 10 straight fights with seven violent finishes, taking the interim title in a submission victory over Kevin Lee at UFC 216 back in October. McGregor (21-3), meanwhile, is 9-1 under the UFC banner with seven knockouts.
Simply put, they’re the two best lightweights Nurmagomedov can fight.
We just don’t know if or when McGregor will return, and if he does, whether or not he’ll still have a title. “Notorious” hasn’t competed in MMA since late 2016, thanks to this side project.
Who is the greatest lightweight in UFC? We may (finally) have our answer in 2018.