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Tony Ferguson loses interim lightweight title when Nurmagomedov and Holloway square off at UFC 223

Tony Ferguson will lose his interim UFC lightweight title.

MMA: UFC 216-Ferguson vs Lee Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports

As announced earlier today, Tony Ferguson was forced out of his UFC interim lightweight title defense against Khabib Nurmagomedov due to a knee injury that will require surgery. With featherweight champ Max Holloway making the gutsy move to step in on short notice, it was announced the fight would be for the interim strap.

With Ferguson holding that title, the only logical way to put the championship on the line was to strip him of the belt.

Speaking with ESPN.com, Dana White confirmed that was the case.

“That goes away,” White said. “This fight is for the title. The winner of this fight will be the champion.”

So, to be clear, Conor McGregor is the UFC lightweight champion despite not defending the belt since winning it against Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205 in November 2016.

Tony Ferguson held the interim title, but an injury has now forced him to be stripped.

Meaning the winner of Nurmagomedov vs. Holloway will be the third man to hold a lightweight championship in a 511 day span without a champion losing a fight.