When Khabib Nurmagomedov won his fight at UFC 242 on Saturday, all fans were wondering who he would defend his UFC Lightweight Championship against next, Conor McGregor or Tony Ferguson.
Nurmagomedov extended his undefeated streak to a 28-0 record on Saturday with a submission win over Dustin Poirier at UFC 242 in Abu Dhabi.
After the fight, Dana White stated that the next fighter The Eagle will defend the Lightweight title against is Ferguson, but there is a pathway for him to have a rematch against McGregor.
White told reporters during the UFC 242 post-fight scrum, via Bloody Elbow: “Tony Ferguson is next line (for Khabib) if he accepts the fight. We’ll see how this thing plays out when Khabib will fight again, and if Tony wants to fight.
“Tony Ferguson gets the next shot, and obviously, if for whatever reason Tony can’t take the fight or doesn’t want to fight at that time, then we would figure out what’s next. But yeah, Conor would make a lot of sense.
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“Conor McGregor wants that fight really badly, and I’m sure the fans would want to see it. So we’ll see how this whole thing plays out.”
We saw evidence that Notorious wants this fight badly immediately following UFC 242, as he tweeted: “Book my rematch for Moscow.”
However, most UFC fans are in agreement that a Khabib vs Ferguson fight should be next, and it’s clear White wants to try and schedule this fight first before giving McGregor a rematch.
UFC has already tried to book The Eagle vs El Cucuy several times in the past, but it has always failed to make fight night for one reason or another. This will be the fifth time they have tried to book this bout.
Nurmagomedov was expected to face Ferguson in December 2015 at The Ultimate Fighter 22 Finale. However, Khabib pulled out of the fight in late October due to a rib injury.
UFC tried to book the fight again in April 2016 at UFC on Fox 19, but Ferguson pulled out of the bout due to a lung issue.
Khabib vs Ferguson was scheduled for a third time for UFC 209 in March 2017. However, the fight was cancelled after The Eagle fell ill because of a botched weight cut.
UFC attempted to book the fight for the fourth time at UFC 223 in April 2018, but the fight was scrapped when Ferguson injured his knee.
If UFC fails to book Khabib vs Ferguson for the fifth time, White already has McGregor waiting on the sidelines.