UFC president Dana White recently confirmed to ESPN that featherweight champion Max Holloway was moving up to lightweight to battle Dustin Poirier at UFC 236 for the interim lightweight title.
With UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov on the sidelines serving a nine-month suspension and saying that he will not return until his teammates’ 12-month suspensions are fulfilled, the UFC wasn’t going to wait until winter for a lightweight title fight.
White revealed that he first offered the interim fight with Holloway to top contender Tony Ferguson, but said Ferguson declined, so the bout instead went to Poirier.
While Ferguson hasn’t said too much about the decision other than a cryptic post to Instagram, Nurmagomedov unleashed a lengthy Instagram post of his own on Sunday, criticizing Ferguson for skipping his chance at the belt.
“Tony, you had your chance and you missed it, and that’s your fault only. You know that I’m disqualified and can’t fight, but it’s not fair to strip me of the title. I fought three times in nine months. I won and defended my belt,” Nurmagomedov wrote.
“As a fighter, you deserve a title fight. You are a great fighter and opponent, but now you have to fight or wait for my DQ [suspension] to be over and fight (but UFC doesn’t want it). I don’t understand your offenses. If you fell down, you got to get up, not complain.”
While Nurmagomedov is sidelined for the better part of the year and Ferguson has opted out of the interim title fight, Holloway will square off with Poirier at UFC 236 on April 13 in Atlanta.
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I want to remind you guys, that before I become champion, I was close to the title fight 3 times and all 3 times I missed my opportunity. First was in July 2016 when I was offered to fight in Ramadan month and I turned it down, second was UFC 205 NYC when I was offered a title fight, bout agreement signed, but my title was given away, you know the story. Third time was UFC 209 where I was hospitalized and almost died. But after every single fail I were said: you missed your chance, earn your shot with one more victory. Tony you had your chance and you missed it, and that’s your fault only. You know that I’m disqualified and can’t fight, but it’s not fair to strip me off the title, I fought 3 times in 9 months. I won and defended my belt. As a fighter you deserve a title fight, you are great fighter and opponent, but now you have to fight or wait for my DQ to be over and fight(but UFC doesn’t want it). I don’t understand your offenses, if you fell down, you got to get up, not complain. #ufc #mma #ufclightweight