Khabib Nurmagomedov’s name was on most UFC fan's lips Sunday morning after a dominant win over Brazilian Edson Barbosa at UFC 219 in Las Vegas on Saturday night.
The lightweight earned a performance of the night bonus after defeating the Brazilian on all three judge’s scorecards. But is it enough to warrant a title shot ahead of interim champion Tony Ferguson? – Probably not.
The Dagestani taunted McGregor in the post-fight press conference claiming his 25-0 unbeaten record was the real championship belt, insisting McGregor’s title was the “fake belt.”
McGregor and Nurmagomedov exchanged pleasantries on social media earlier this afternoon. It may be the more marketable fight for the UFC.
That Dagestani was dog shit the other night you's are all nuts. Game full of sloppy bums asking to be slept. Pay me my worth and Kings back.
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) January 1, 2018
Theoretically, Ferguson should be next in line for a title unification bout with Conor McGregor but UFC President Dana White has claimed nothing is for certain when it comes to Conor McGregor’s next fight.
Not giving Ferguson a unification bout would pretty much defeat the purpose in having an interim championship. Ferguson has been pushing for the McGregor unification fight since he defeated Kevin Lee at UFC 216 to claim the UFC lightweight interim championship.
The UFC may also look at rescheduling Ferguson against Nurmagomedov, for a forth time, after the bout fell apart on three separate occasions, most recently prior UFC 209. The bout seems for unikely as Ferguson but he may accept a potential fight after Khabib had his weight-cut on point at UFC 219.
Tony Ferguson is currently on the shelf after having elbow surgery, a timeline for his return is currently unknown but the interim champion remains the most likely opponent to Challenge Conor McGregor in 2018, if the Irishman decides to return to the Octagon.
McGregor has claimed he will only return if the money is right for him. He earned a reported £100 million in his defeat to Floyd Mayweather, last August. The lightweight champion hasn't fought inside the Octagon for 13 months.