Sports White: Ferguson, Nurmagomedov to meet for undisputed title if McGregor stripped

22:05  04 january  2018
22:05  04 january  2018 Source:   theScore

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Regardless of what happens with McGregor , White seemed to indicate that Ferguson vs. Nurmagomedov is the fight the UFC is interested in booking next, and he suggested the matchup could end up being for the legitimate title if McGregor chooses to wait.

McGregor (21-3 MMA, 9-1 UFC) holds the undisputed title , but that matters little to the undefeated Dagestani. “I don’t care about ( McGregor ). You guys know Uncle Dana ( White ) give him gift. Nurmagomedov called the clash with Ferguson the “best lightweight fight in UFC history” and said

The UFC's lightweight title picture may be shaken up a few months from now.

With reigning champion Conor McGregor holding out for a piece of the promotional pie, UFC president Dana White revealed Thursday that the outfit might have to move on and book a date between Khabib Nurmagomedov and interim champion Tony Ferguson for the undisputed title should the Irishman remain M.I.A. by the spring.

White recently stated he hoped to have McGregor back in the fold this summer, although he now believes the titleholder may sit out beyond the desired timeline, which would extend his UFC layoff to nearly two years and leave White little choice but to strip him.

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UFC: Khabib Nurmagomedov wants to fight Tony Ferguson for interim title as Conor McGregor sits out. Now Nurmagomedov is healthy and ready to fight and he hopes Ferguson will accept his challenge to meet next year.

McGregor (21-3 MMA, 9-1 UFC), the undisputed champ, is officially on a 10-month leave of absence as he prepares for the birth of Nurmagomedov and Ferguson both suspect McGregor is trying to dodge a title -unifier. Khabib Nurmagomedov : Strip Conor McGregor so I can fight for belt in 2018.

"As long as Conor is willing to fight by March, we could do Khabib versus Tony and then the winner fights Conor for the title," White told Kevin Iole of Yahoo Sports. "Or Conor doesn’t want to fight and wants to sit out until next fall and then we would have to make Khabib versus Tony for the title, not the interim title.

"I don’t think Conor wants to fight until August but if he waits until August or September, that’s been about two years since the belt has been defended and that can’t happen."

a man standing in front of a crowd© Joshua Dahl / USA TODAY Sports

Not only has McGregor already been stripped of the featherweight title he won two years ago at UFC 194 and didn't defend over the ensuing year, but Ferguson and Nurmagomedov have been booked to square off three times before - with each date meeting its demise for a variety of reasons - although Nurmagomedov just cemented his spot as a top contender with a mauling of Edson Barboza at UFC 219.

Nurmagomedov stays undefeated with 3-round mauling of Barboza

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— UNDISPUTED (@ undisputed ) December 28, 2017. “What we have to do is, he needs to defend that title ,” White said ” … Tony Ferguson is the fight right now and is the move if ( McGregor ) wants to come back.” Khabib Nurmagomedov camped out at Dana White ’s car after dominant UFC 219 win.

White seems to have no interest in stripping McGregor 's title without a fight, but he does clearly want McGregor to get back in action sooner rather than later. Title fights between Conor McGregor , Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov need to happen

With Ferguson riding a division-best 10-fight win streak and Nurmagomedov unbeaten in 25 pro fights including nine walks to the Octagon, White was quick to acknowledge they'd earned a marquee matchup, and McGregor can't keep order from being restored forever.

"This is a game of time," White said. "Time is your enemy in this sport or any other sport. When you’re a professional athlete, time is your enemy and we can’t let this thing go on forever and not give other guys the opportunity. Tony Ferguson has been around for a long time and earned his dues. Khabib has earned his dues and the list goes on and on.

"So Conor has done very well, he’s made a lot of money, and if he decides he doesn’t want to fight again for another however long, that’s up to him, that’s his choice and his decision, but the belt has to move on. So we’ve got to figure some stuff out here in the next couple months."

McGregor last fell to Floyd Mayweather in a boxing match in August, and hasn't seen the inside of a cage since he stopped Eddie Alvarez to win the lightweight crown at UFC 205 nearly 14 months ago.

- With h/t to MMAWeekly

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