Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson have come close to fighting many times in the past. After numerous injuries and weigh-ins issues, the two will finally clash on April 7…

Regardless of how you look at it, the situation at the top end of the UFC lightweight division is frustrating. Firstly, for the line of contenders, secondly for the fans, but also for the two most talented fighters in the division besides the champion.

Of course, we are talking about interim champion Tony Ferguson and undefeated lightweight wrestler Khabib Nurmagomedov. While Conor McGregor has been doing the money dance with Floyd Mayweather, ‘The Eagle’ and ‘El Cucuy’ have bolstered their respective win streaks.

Currently, Nurmagomedov is yet to taste defeat in his 25 career fights, and Ferguson has gone 10 straight without losing. For the fourth time since 2015, the two are scheduled to fight again.

Typically, things aren’t as simple as we’d hoped, as the promotion is yet to strip McGregor.

Khabib Says Undisputed Belt on The Line

With ‘The Notorious’ remaining defiant and the UFC reluctant to take his belt, the bout between Ferg and Khabib was booked in a grey area. ‘El Cucuy’ won the interinm title by submitting Kevin Lee, but is yet to be announced as the full champ.

According to Nurmagomedov, as per TMZ, H/T, the title fight at UFC 223 is 100% for the undisputed belt:

“When is Conor compete last time in MMA? I forget about this,” Nurmagomedov said. “Long time. He’s boxing guy. He’s good to stay in boxing, because you have to compete in MMA, like wrestling, grappling, conditioning 25 minutes — it’s like different. It’s very hard to him.

“They talk about Mayweather fight. I don’t think he gonna come back.”

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“We’re going to fight his [McGregor’s] belt,” Nurmagomedov said. “The UFC strip his belt, now we’re going to fight for real belt, 100 percent. I have contract, like, real belt. What are they going to do? They have only one real belt. They have interim belt, and they have real belt. They send me contract.

“We’re going to fight with Tony Ferguson for real belt. I have contract.”

What’s the confusion then? Why hasn’t the UFC officially stripped McGregor? Nurmagomedov has a theory.

“Maybe they don’t want him [McGregor] upset because he make good money,” he said. “But I know I’m going to fight for the real belt because I have contract.”

Khabib Nurmagomedov lands a flurry of ground strikes on a helpless Edson Barboza at UFC 219. Photo by Gary A. Vasquez for USA TODAY Sports

No More Bullsh*t Contracts?

According to Khabib’s manager, Tony Ferguson may retire after UFC 223:

“I feel sorry for Tony Ferguson, because on April 7, Tony Ferguson is probably never gonna fight again. I’m hearing that he’d accept, he’d be more than happy for Khabib to take him down. And I’ll tell you something, he’s not gonna be a normal human being.

“He’ll be in trouble. Because if he accepts takedown from Khabib and he will take him down, he will disfigure his whole entire face.

“It’s gonna be brutal, it’s gonna be ugly, it’s gonna be bloody. Khabib was very nice to Barboza, he was very nice to Michael Johnson. But I’m telling you something. One thing that Khabib is not gonna do, he’s not gonna be nice to Tony Ferguson.

“My prediction, Tony Ferguson will probably need to take two years off or maybe not come back after this fight.

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