Khabib-Ferguson Set For UFC 223
Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov will get another chance to finally face off, as the two are set to face off at UFC 223.
Ariel Helwani in a report too MMA Fighting reported that the two will face off in a championship fight on April 7th at Barclays Center, in Brooklyn.
The matchup was first reported as being set by Russian news outlet TASS, though no location was mentioned.
There is not word yet if it will be Ferguson’s interim lightweight title, which Nurmagomeov refused to fight for, or if absentee champion Conor McGregor will be stripped of his belt, and make it a fight for the vacant undisputed championship.
UFC president Dana White appeared on the “Toucher and Rich” radio show on Wednesday, where he mentioned that he expected the Ferguson-Nurmagomedov matchup to take place in Brooklyn. However, he was not asked about and did not clarify which iteration of the lightweight title will be on the line.
Ferguson won an interim belt this past October at UFC 216 when he defeated Kevin Lee by third-round triangle choke submission. It was the 10th consecutive win for “El Cucuy” who improved to 23-3 as a pro. Since that win, Ferguson has been openly lobbying for bouts with McGregor and Nurmagomedov.
This would be the fourth time in three years that Ferguson and Nurmagomedov have been in talks to fight. Their first meeting in 2015 was canceled due to a Nurmagomedov injury, and the second by a Ferguson injury. The third cancellation made the most headlines as the two were scheduled to compete for an interim title last March at UFC 209, only to see the fight canceled when Nurmagomedov was hospitalized less than 48 hours before the event due to complications related to his weight cut.
In his first fight since the hospitalization, Nurmagomedov improved his pro record to 25-0 with a lopsided unanimous decision win over Edson Barboza at UFC 219 on Dec. 30.
A strawweight title rematch between champion Rose Namajunas and Joanna Jedrzejczyk is also being discussed for UFC 223, though it has not been finalized yet.