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White: Tony Ferguson vs. Michael Chandler winner would be new No. 1 contender for Khabib

If UFC can put it together, Ferguson vs. Chandler would be a Lightweight title eliminator fight for the right to face Khabib Nurmagomedov.

UFC 254 hasn’t even gone down yet, but everyone is already getting extremely obsessed with what’s next for Lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov. We suppose when you go 28-0 with only a single round lost over your entire career, people start just assuming you’ll win ... even against an extremely dangerous opponent like Justin Gaethje.

Khabib has been pretty quiet regarding his future, repeatedly insisting his mind is on Gaethje and only Gaethje going into their “Fight Island” bout this weekend (Sat., Oct. 24, 2020). But, there are rumblings of “something special” Dana White has promised Khabib. Rumblings of a superfight with Georges St-Pierre. And always Floyd Mayweather scheming in the background for another big money payday against any sucker willing to cross over from another combat sport to fight him in the boxing ring.

During a podcast appearance with Mike Swick, UFC’s president sidestepped any hint of “something special” for Khabib and instead set up a potential fight for the No. 1 contender spot between Tony Ferguson and Michael Chandler.

“I think right now when you talk about Khabib being the best 155 pounder ever, he’s beat Poirier, he’s beat McGregor, and he’s beat a bunch of the other guys in the division to get where he is now,” White said. “I think you look at Michael Chandler and Tony Ferguson. Those two fight for a No. 1 contender spot. He hasn’t fought either one of those guys. So ... there’s still that. That’s there. And then I don’t know. We’ll see how Saturday night plays out and we’ll go from there.”

First White will have to sign Ferguson vs. Chandler to fight each other, which is something “El Cucuy” doesn’t seem to be very interested in doing. But, with White now dangling dibs on Khabib, perhaps that will change. Does that excite Khabib? Not particularly, based on interviews throughout UFC 254 fight week. The name that keeps coming up from Khabib is Georges St-Pierre. But, from Khabib’s perspective, at least White isn’t suggesting the winner of Poirier vs. McGregor as his next opponent.

MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 254 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on ESPN 2/ESPN+ at 12 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 2 p.m. ET on ESPN+.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC 254: “Khabib vs. Gaethje” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.