Dana White is on board with attempting to book Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Tony Ferguson again, but he is also leaving the door open for a rematch between the reigning lightweight champion and Conor McGregor.
Nurmagomedov and Ferguson have been scheduled to meet on four different occasions, but each time their bout has fallen through for various reasons. However, Ferguson’s current 12-fight winning streak makes him the clear No. 1 contender in the lightweight division, and Nurmagomedov acknowledged as much following a successful title defense at UFC 242 this past Saturday.
White agrees with the champion, but the UFC president also knows nothing is set in stone, which is why McGregor could still be in play.
“Yeah he’s next. Tony Ferguson is next in line for the fight if he accepts the fight,” White said at the UFC 242 post-fight press conference. “We’ll see how this thing plays out when Khabib will fight again and if Tony wants the fight.”
However, if Ferguson is unable to accept the fight, McGregor would be a logical next choice considering his first bout vs. Nurmagomedov at UFC 229 reportedly set a promotional record for pay-per-view buys. Nurmagomedov submitted McGregor in the fourth round of their headlining contest last October, and a post-fight melee ensued when the Dagestani jumped out of the cage to attack Dillon Danis after his victory. That means there would be no shortage of interest for a return date between the two rivals.
“Tony Ferguson gets the next shot and obviously if for whatever reason Tony can’t take the fight or doesn’t want the fight at that time then we would figure out what was next but Conor would make a lot of sense,” White said. “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.”
Book my rematch for Moscow.— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) September 7, 2019
At the conclusion of UFC 242, McGregor took to social media to request a rematch with Nurmagomedov in Moscow. The Irishman hasn’t competed since last October and has dealt with myriad out-of-the cage issues in recent months. McGregor’s lost victory in the promotion occurred when he claimed lightweight gold with a stoppage of Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205 in November 2016.