Ever since UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor decided to take some time off, things have been up in the air for the top two contenders. Both Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson have shown major interest in fighting each other, possibly for an interim title, but the UFC stated that Ferguson’s salary demands for the bout have killed the idea.
Khabib even offered to pay Ferguson the difference, but the UFC didn’t budge.
Something has been sorted out for each man though, because they both took to social media to make it clear that they’re fighting soon:
Time To Get Excited Y'all!!! #ElCuCuy is coming!!! #ElCucuyViene #TeamElCucuy #TonyFergusonMMA #SnapDownCity @paradigmsm #GP #Victoryon3 pic.twitter.com/sTcLnAA6To— Tony Ferguson (@TonyFergusonXT) January 7, 2017
Starting my training camp. #ufc209— khabib nurmagomedov (@TeamKhabib) January 7, 2017
8 weeks before fight.
About opponent I let you know guys.… https://t.co/uww85SdFfR
Nurmagomedov (24-0, 8-0 UFC) actually confirms that he’s fighting on UFC 209. Ferguson (22-3, 12-1 UFC) was a little more vague with his tweet, but it indicates that he has a bout booked as well.
The big question is simple - are they fighting each other?
The bout makes absolute sense on just about every level possible. Unless Nurmagomedov accepted a bout with Jose Aldo (which the UFC wanted but Khabib previously turned down), no other matchup makes much sense for him. Ferguson doesn’t have many top-level options either. I guess one of them could fight former champion Eddie Alvarez, but where does that leave the other?
We’ll have to see what the UFC has decided to do with both men, but hopefully we’ll see them squaring off in the cage at UFC 209 on March 4th.