With the uncertainty of Conor McGregor’s return, Khabib Nurmagomedov is expecting to be the next in line for a title fight against Tony Ferguson.
UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor took on what could be the biggest paycheck of his career in August when he fought Floyd Mayweather Jr. in a boxing match. This has led many to question whether or not he will continue fighting.
Number two-ranked 155-pounder Khabib Nurmagomedov is one of those who is leaning towards the latter, which is why he also expects to be the one to face interim champion Tony Ferguson, instead.
“Conor made $100 million [to fight Floyd Mayweather in August]? Why would he come back for $10-15 million?” Nurmagomedov said (via ESPN.com). “I think Conor needs big motivation to fight because he has money. He’s already a two-division champ.”
“In the lightweight division, the most important fight is me and Tony. I have to fight with Tony. This weight division is a little bit weird right now, but I’m going to change this at the end of the year. In March or April, I’m going to fight Tony for the title.”
But before anything else, Khabib would first have to get through number four-ranked contender Edson Barboza this weekend at UFC 219. One of the biggest hurdles in the past was his weight issues, which for him was a lesson learned the hard way.
“This fight is very important because people are talking about how I cannot make weight,” Khabib said. “The last time, this was my fault. That’s why people are waiting — to see if I can make weight and stay busy.”
“Now, my weight is good. Three weeks out, I will lose 3 or 4 pounds. Two weeks, another 4 pounds. The last week, I’m going to cut, like, 13 pounds. I have never been this light. The last week will be 13 to 15 pounds.”
For Khabib, this upcoming fight will be the perfect opportunity to show that he is a legitimate contender deserving of a title shot.
“It’s a very big fight, but I came here to take the belt and make history,” Khabib said. “You can’t make history only with money. I want to win this fight and stay busy. This is my crazy dream. Others will fight so many times in a year. I can do this, too. I have to stay healthy. This is a perfect moment for me.”
UFC 219 is scheduled for December 30th at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.