While Eddie Alvarez and Dustin Poirier are headlining UFC on FOX 30 on Saturday and sitting at No. 3 and No. 4 in the lightweight division, neither is likely to be next for a title shot regardless of who wins. UFC president Dana White, unless everything falls apart, fully intends for Conor McGregor to be the first challenger to UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.
“(Alvarez vs. Poirier) definitely needed to happen. I think this is the perfect time for this to happen,” White said following Friday’s ceremonial weigh-in. “(But) the fight that everybody wants to see is Conor and Khabib. That’s the fight.”
Earlier in the week, McGregor cleared the way for the bout by accepting a plea deal from the district attorney in New York for his instigation and actions during an attack on a bus full of UFC 223 fighters, including Nurmagomedov, in early April.
McGregor agreed to serve five days of community service, complete and anger management program, and pay restitution.
White had hinted in the past that McGregor might face further repercussions from the UFC in addition to the legal ramifications he faced in New York, but now sounds as if that won’t happen.
“Conor has faced a lot of repercussions,” White said. “Conor has lost a lot of money and a lot of time. Conor and I are good. We’re good.”
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White wouldn’t give a definitive timeline for the bout, but when asked if the oft-rumored date of Oct. 6 in Las Vegas would the target, he said, “That would be awesome,” while crossing his fingers.
The odd-man out in all of this is former interim UFC lightweight champion Tony Ferguson, who finds himself on the sidelines now that Nurmagomedov has the undisputed belt and a potential date with McGregor. White, however, would like to have Ferguson fight on the same card as Nurmagomedov and McGregor, presumably to have him ready to step in should either man falter before the fight.