We don’t yet know when Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) lightweight champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov, is going to make his return to mixed martial arts (MMA), as his fate hangs in the balance of next month’s disciplinary hearing in front of Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC).
The current favorite, at least according to promotion president Dana White, is former interim champion, Tony Ferguson, who is not only ranked No. 1 in the 155-pound division, but the winner of 11 straight with eight finishes.
But if we have to bet a horse by its record, there’s a strong chance Nurmagomedov vs. Ferguson doesn’t happen, which means Conor McGregor can avenge his loss to “The Eagle” because he’s the biggest draw in the company and usually gets his way.
But not if Al Iaquinta has anything to say about it.
“If Conor thinks he’s getting a rematch before me, I think that’s some nonsense,” Iaquinta said after UFC on FOX 31 (via MMA Fighting). “No immediate rematch for him, he tapped out. I took it like man on a week’s notice, he had all the time in the world to prepare, and he wanted a way out. I’m the fucking guy in this division.”
Iaquinta is coming off a unanimous decision win over fellow lightweight contender Kevin Lee (watch it), which took place in the UFC on FOX 31 main event last Sat. night (Dec. 15, 2018) inside Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
In addition, “Ragin’ Al” is no stranger to Nurmagomedov, having taken “The Eagle” to the scorecards after five rounds of action at UFC 223. Not too shabby considering the bout was cobbled together at the last minute when Max Holloway was scratched.
Unfortunately for Iaquinta, the promotion stages pay-per-view (PPV) events to make money, not reward winning fighters, and it’s merely a coincidence if a headlining bout is able to satisfy both requirements (Exhibit A).
But at least this gives us something to talk about until Jan. 29.