It looks like the UFC lightweight title is now up for grabs. Well, at least the interim version of it. UFC President Dana White just announced a blockbuster matchup between top lightweights Tony Ferguson and Kevin Lee. The bout will be contested for the UFC interim lightweight championship.
The matchup is scheduled to go down in October at UFC 216 in Las Vegas. It should be an amazing scrap between two high-level and extremely confident superstars. But don’t know how we should feel about this one. It appears we won’t be seeing Conor McGregor defend his lightweight title this year, from the looks of it.
Conor McGregor’s absence from the Octagon
Obviously, the reigning UFC lightweight champion has his hands full right now. In less than two weeks’ time, McGregor will take on boxing legend and defensive genius Floyd Mayweather in Las Vegas. It is projected to be the biggest fight in combat sports history, eclipsing even financial records set by the 2015 Mayweather-Pacquiao extravaganza.
White, just like everyone else, can’t wait too long though. At some point, we have to get back to MMA.
“I’m ready for Conor to get back to MMA,” White told ESPN. “We have less than two weeks and then we can figure out what’s next.”
In the meantime, White has set up an interim lightweight title bout.
Tony Ferguson versus Kevin Lee for the UFC interim lightweight title
Lee is currently riding a five-fight winning streak. In his last outing, Lee scored a first-round submission victory over top contender Michael Chiesa this past June. Ferguson on the other hand has won his last nine bouts, the latest being a comprehensive decision victory over former champion Rafael Dos Anjos.
Both Ferguson and Lee are extremely talented competitors. The winner would be worthy of a shot at McGregor’s regular title.
Nowhere to be seen however is Khabib “The Eagle” Nurmagomedov, who alongside Ferguson is considered the best lightweight not named Conor McGregor.
“Khabib’s not ready,” shrugged White. “He had surgery, you know, he’s just not ready. It is what it is.”
There is still hope that McGregor would return to the Octagon later this year to face Nurmagomedov like the Irishman initially stated months ago.
Other Announced Bouts at UFC 216
UFC 216, which takes place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on October 7 is shaping up to be an awesome night of MMA. While Ferguson and Lee have been added to the top, a rumored heavyweight title bout is said to be in the works.
UFC heavyweight world champion Stipe Miocic versus former champion Cain Velasquez is being targeted to headline this event.
Interim UFC Lightweight Championship bout: Tony Ferguson vs. Kevin Lee
Lightweight bout: Beneil Dariush vs. Evan Dunham
Lightweight bout: Nik Lentz vs. Will Brooks
Flyweight bout: Marco Beltrán vs. Matt Schnell
Heavyweight bout: Walt Harris vs. Mark Godbeer
Flyweight bout: Magomed Bibulatov vs. John Moraga
Lightweight bout: Bobby Green vs. Lando Vannata
Middleweight bout: Thales Leites vs. Brad Tavares
Women’s Strawweight bout: Poliana Botelho vs. Pearl Gonzalez
Women’s Flyweight bout: Paige VanZant vs. Jessica Eye