Khabib Nurmagomedov’s manager Ali Abdelaziz has made it clear that his fighter has no intention of competing for an interim title in his next outing.
For all the intrigue and discussion that has surrounded each of the UFC’s current weight classes, perhaps none carry the level of attention that has been fixated on lightweight in recent times.
The trio of Khabib Nurmagomedov, Tony Ferguson, and the champ Conor McGregor have been embroiled in a battle for control of the division – despite the fact that none of them have ever faced each other yet.
Ferguson’s status as the interim champion would in most cases make him the obvious pick for a shot at McGregor’s undisputed strap but with the lines between logic and insanity becoming increasingly blurred, who knows how this heated love triangle will play out.
Earlier this week it emerged that Nurmagomedov was interested in taking on the former champion Eddie Alvarez in the event that a matchup with Ferguson or McGregor was not booked but now, his manager Ali Abdelaziz has let the world know that his client is putting his foot down.
Speaking to MMAFighting, Abdelaziz had this to say on the next fight of Khabib Nurmagomedov:
“Khabib’s next fight, we’re not fighting for no damn interim belt. We want the real belt or we don’t want nothing. We appreciate everything the UFC has done for us, but it’s time for a real a belt. Nobody is interested in fighting for a fake belt. Tony Ferguson has a fake belt. Nobody wants this.”
Could this be the final push the UFC needed to arrange for McGregor to face Tony Ferguson before the summer is here? Or will the Irishman’s stubbornness at the negotiation table see him stripped of his belt, something that would elevate a contest between Khabib and Ferguson to an undisputed lightweight showdown?
Either way, 2018 will be one epic year at 155lbs.
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena