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Khabib Nurmagomedov says he asked UFC to fight ‘Burger King’ Conor McGregor when Tony Ferguson withdrew

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Khabib Nurmagomedov said his first reaction when he heard that Tony Ferguson was out of their UFC 223 title fight was that it must be a joke. “The Eagle” thought it was some kind of April Fool’s prank.

Upon learning that it was, indeed, legit and Ferguson was injured and could not fight Saturday in Brooklyn, Nurmagomedov told Ariel Helwani on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour that he asked the UFC one thing: Where is Conor McGregor?

“Where is this Burger King?” Nurmagomedov said. “Take this Burger King here.”

McGregor is still, technically, the UFC lightweight champion. He has been since beating Eddie Alvarez for the belt in November 2016. But “The Notorious” has yet to defend that title and the UFC was making this planned bout between Nurmagomedov and Ferguson, the interim champion, for what UFC president Dana White described as the “real” belt.

With Ferguson out, Nurmagomedov figured McGregor should step in and put his gold on the line. Especially since a few days earlier McGregor tweeted the phrase “Stay ready.”

“Now, where is this guy?” Nurmagomedov said. “Six days to make weight. He can make weight. Bring this guy.”

Nurmagomedov (25-0) joked that now that McGregor is getting big-time sponsorships like Burger King, the UFC does not want to put him in any precarious situations.

“I think they want him to look nice,” Nurmagomedov said. “He famous. If I change his face … they won’t take somebody who has crazy face.”

McGregor tweeted a vulgar response to Ferguson’s withdrawal Monday. But did not say why he is not fighting Nurmagomedov this coming weekend.

Max Holloway, the UFC’s featherweight champion, will step in and take on Nurmagomedov. The bout will still be for the lightweight title, White told ESPN on Sunday. Nurmagomedov wants to know where all the other fighters in his division are when they had a chance to step up for a championship opportunity.

“I don’t understand,” Nurmagomedov said. “When I am ready, when I am healthy, nobody talk. … Now I’m here. Where are you guys? Only Max Holloway shows up.”

Nurmagomedov, 29, believes if he beats Holloway then the UFC will try to set up a title fight between him and McGregor at Madison Square Garden later this year. But he’s not necessarily begging for it, despite the worldwide interest.

“It’s most interesting fight in MMA and boxing right now,” Nurmagomedov said.

What the Dagestan native did promise if he beats Holloway is that he will defend the lightweight title and against the top contenders in the division. Nurmagomedov said he is sick of “superfights.”

With a win at UFC 223, he said he’ll leave no more doubts about who is the best 155-pounder in the world.

“In jungle, only one king,” Nurmagomedov said. “You cannot be like, this guy king, this guy interim king. It’s all crazy stuff. I’m gonna take the belt, I’m gonna show my numbers. Ten years undisputed and undefeated champion and everything becomes calm, everybody understand.”