After Khabib Nurmagomedov defeated Dustin Poirier via submission to retain the Lightweight Championship, many began to speculate if Nurmagomedov would ever lose within the UFC.
The only contender at surface would be Tony Ferguson. However, despite multiple attempts to book the fight, barriers have always prevented a bout between the two.
There is also another route in which Conor McGregor may try to find a rematch against Nurmagomedov. Often times, the UFC does what’s best for its ratings, as opposed to its rankings.
With that, who will earn the next shot at Nurmagomedov’s title?
Ferguson is riding a 13-fight win streak, which includes victories over Rafael Dos Anjos, Edson Barboza, and Anthony Pettis. As a result, a majority of his fights ended with Fight/Performance of the Night merits. After a win over Kevin Lee in 2017, Ferguson was eventually stripped of his title due to injury.
When Eddie Alvarez was the champion, Ferguson was ranked as the top contender. Instead of going along with the rankings, the UFC elected to give Featherweight Conor McGregor a shot at becoming the first ever two-division champion.
Ferguson is next in line, but every time himself and Nurmagomedov are close to fighting, an incident occurs. If the UFC is sticking to the rankings and what is right, then Ferguson vs Nurmagomedov is the clear answer.
To be blunt, McGregor hasn’t been the same as of late. In his last four fights, McGregor is 2-2 with wins over Nate Diaz and Eddie Alvarez, but also lost to Diaz and Nurmagomedov. Dating back to 2017, McGregor also lost his boxing debut to Floyd Mayweather.
The former two-division title holder has not made one title defense to date. Most would argue that he was injured or had outside matters to attend to, but that was rarely the case.
According to the latest reports, UFC President Dana White stated if a complication occurs between booking Nurmagomedov and Ferguson once again, then a rematch between Nurmagomedov and McGregor makes the most sense. However, does it actually make sense whatsoever?
The previous encounter between the two ended in a one-sided bout that saw McGregor submitted after four rounds. Instead, the UFC should propose that McGregor builds his way into the title picture by fighting another name such as Donald Cerrone or Justin Gaethje. The two fight at UFC Fight Night 158 this upcoming Saturday, so perhaps the winner of that should see McGregor in the octagon before the end of the year.
Photo Credit: USA Today, New York Times