If all goes as planned, Tony Ferguson will be Khabib Nurmagomedov’s next challenger for the UFC lightweight belt.
If things don’t go as planned, however, there could be a very interesting fallback option for Nurmagomedov, according to comments from UFC president Dana White.
When asked by TMZ about a potential fight between Nurmagomedov and his idol, MMA legend Georges St-Pierre, White didn’t rule out the possibility.
“Tony Ferguson is the fight that needs to happen,” White said. “We’ve tried to do it four other times, so hopefully we can get it done this time. But that’s the fight that makes sense.
“[A St-Pierre fight] can happen, too. We’ll see what happens with Tony. Tony’s had opportunities before that he didn’t take, so if he doesn’t, then I would be interested in talking about GSP.”
Given that Nurmagomedov and Ferguson have had a stunning four scheduled fights fall through in the past, the idea of a St-Pierre-Nurmagomedov matchup as a contingency is tantalizing.
That position is a reversal from the past for White, who didn’t seem happy with St-Pierre when he vacated the UFC middleweight title soon after winning it due to ulcerative colitis. For his part, Nurmagomedov has publicly pleaded with the 38-year-old St-Pierre for a fight, though White’s thumbs-up seemed to be a major obstacle.
Also potentially looming for Nurmagomedov is a rematch against Conor McGregor, which would undoubtedly do massive numbers for the UFC. White acknowledged the possibility of a rematch, but with the caveat that it could take some time.
“That’s possible too, down the road,” White said. “I think Conor would fight somebody else before that. The Ferguson fight would have to happen. There’s a lot of possibilities.”
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