It looks like top lightweights Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov will have their date in the Octagon in the very near future.
UFC President Dana White confirmed on Boston’s "Toucher and Rich” show that Ferguson and Nurmagomedov will lock horns at UFC 223. The event takes place on April 7 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., and airs on pay-per-view.
“That fight is going to happen,” White said. “It will happen.”
Dana White on our show confirmed that Khabib vs. Ferguson is indeed on for UFC 223 in Brooklyn. #UFC— Toucher and Rich (@Toucherandrich) January 17, 2018
It isn’t completely clear if Ferguson vs. Nurmagomedov will be for the undisputed lightweight title. Reigning 155-pound champ Conor McGregor hasn’t competed in the Octagon since November 2016 and made more than $100 million for boxing Floyd Mayweather last August. White has said that the promotion will strip McGregor of the title if he waits too long to come back. Ferguson captured the interim 155-pound belt with a victory over Kevin Lee at UFC 216 in October.
“If he comes back in September, that’s almost two years,” White said on Fox Sports 1 over the weekend. “That can’t happen. It’s not fair to everybody else.
“Love Conor, respect Conor, love everything that he’s done for this company. Everybody knows that. I say it all the time. The belt would have to move on. You do Khabib vs. Tony; we’re working on that fight now. If and when Conor comes back, he would get the first crack at the title.”
Ferguson and Nurmagomedov have been booked three times in the past, most recently at UFC 209. That matchup was scrapped one day before the event when Nurmagomedov was hospitalized due to a failed weight cut. The Dagestani grappler last competed at UFC 219 on Dec. 30, when he overwhelmed Edson Barboza in the evening’s co-main event.