No. 3 ranked lightweight Khabib Nurmagomedov has had to withdraw from another fight due to injury. Plagued for the past year and a half by knee injuries, Nurmagomedov on Thursday withdrew from his The Ultimate Fighter 22 Finale bout with Tony Ferguson due to a broken rib.
UFC officials worked swiftly, however, announcing on Friday that Edson Barboza agreed to step in to fight Ferguson.
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Although Ferguson (19-3) is surging in the midst of a six-fight winning streak, he was looking forward to fighting such a highly ranked opponent as Nurmagomedov in order to propel himself into the thick of title talk. Although the Dagestan fighter had to drop out, Ferguson’s level of opposition didn’t drop off much, as Barboza is 16-3 and is ranked No. 6 in the UFC’s lightweight division.
Although Barboza is not an easy opponent for anyone, he is 3-2 in his last five fights, having lost to Donald Cerrone and Michael Johnson, so he’s got more steps to take before he realistically can get into a championship fight.
Top featherweights Frankie Edgar and Chad Mendes headline a top heavy The Ultimate Fighter 22 Finale on Dec. 11 in Las Vegas.