Khabib Nurmagomedov believes there is no confusion about the UFC lightweight title that he is fighting for when he meets Tony Ferguson in the UFC 223 headliner on April 7 in Brooklyn, N.Y.
When UFC president Dana White announced the fight, he said that the Ferguson vs. Nurmagomedov bout would be for the UFC lightweight championship, leading most people to the assumption that current champion Conor McGregor would be stripped
of his belt. White, however, when directly asked if the UFC was stripping its champion – who hasn’t defended the belt since winning it in November of 2016 – refused to give a definitive answer.
Nurmagomedov has no doubts about the situation, saying that he believes “100 percent” that the UFC is going to strip McGregor because he has a contract to fight for the belt.
“I have contract (to fight) for the real belt. What they gonna do? They have only one real belt. They have interim belt and they have real belt,” Nurmagomedov told TMZ Sports. “They send me contract. We’re gonna fight with Tony Ferguson for real belt.”
McGregor spent a large portion of his time since winning the UFC lightweight championship pursuing and eventually boxing Floyd Mayweather. Nurmagomedov said that makes him a boxing guy now and doesn’t think McGregor may even return to the Octagon, though McGregor has said many times that he intends to fight in the UFC again… when the deal is right.
If Nuramgomedov wins the belt when he fights Ferguson at UFC 223, and if McGregor does return to the Octagon, the Dagestani fighter doesn’t feel obligated to give the Irishman an immediate shot at the belt.
“If he wanna fight with me, he have to stand in the line,” said Nurmagomedov. “He have to beg.”