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Morning Report: Khabib Nurmagomedov thinks Tony Ferguson and Dustin Poirier will fight for interim title next

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Last week, the Nevada Athletic Commission finally handed down their suspensions for the post-fight brawl that erupted at UFC 229 when Khabib Nurmagomedov jumped the fence and launched himself into the crowd to attack Conor McGregor’s fight team. For inciting the brawl, Nurmagomedov was fined $500,000 and suspended for nine months, retroactive to October 6. He also has the option to reduce his suspension by up to three months upon participation in an anti-bullying public service announcement approved by the NAC. That means the UFC lightweight champion could be back in action as early as April 6, but don’t count on it.

Unhappy with how the NAC handled the entire situation and with their determination to suspend his teammates, Zubaira Tukhugov and Abubakar Nurmagomedov, for one year for their involvement in the brawl, Nurmagomedov has declared he will stand in solidarity with his teammates and won’t fight until both of their suspensions are up. (Khabib has also said he will pay for the $25,000 fines levied on both Tukhugov and Nurmagomedov). That means Khabib is planning to sit in self-imposed exile until the end of next year, which would once against put the most stacked division in the UFC on hold.

Fortunately, Khabib has a plan.

Speaking with the Russian outlet Sportbox (translation via RT Sport), Nurmagomedov said he believes the UFC will create an interim lightweight title while he is on the shelf, and that Tony Ferguson and Dustin Poirier will fight for it. Then, when he comes back at the end of the year, Khabib will defend his “real” title against the winner of the interim belt.

“I think that they will create an interim title,” Khabib said. “It could be between Poirier and Ferguson. Whoever wins will become the interim champion, and then at the end of the year we will fight for the real belt.

“I think that could happen. At the moment I don’t know for sure.”

It’s not a bad plan. Both Ferguson and Poirier are deserving of title shots and the only reason they haven’t gotten them yet is because the lightweight division was held in a holding pattern for the last couple of years with McGregor’s abdication to boxing and the ongoing saga of Ferguson and Nurmagomedov. An interim title fight would give clarity to the top of the 155 pound division and set up one of the biggest fights of the year, which would go perfectly with Khabib’s plan to return in November for the annual Madison Square Garden Pay-Per-View.

The only person left out of this is the man Nurmagomedov beat most recently, Conor McGregor. Fortunately, McGregor seems to already have an opponent lined up next in Donald Cerrone. Maybe he can get winners after that.


Ugh. Henry Cejudo says Dana White wants T.J. Dillashaw rematch.

115. Joanna Jedrzejczyk reveals timeline for return, plans to move back to strawweight.

Scary. 51-fight veteran Wanderlei Silva reveals he has several concussion-like symptoms.

Illusion. Paul Daley promises to dispel Michael Page ‘illusion’ during heated London presser.

Cannon fodder. Jose Torres says UFC fighters are ‘just meat to the wolves’.


The A Side Live Chat.

Izzy with the pro-wrestling workout.


Embedded 3.

Darren Till interview.

KSW is insane and awesome.


Heavy Hands. Previewing UFC 234, or at least, the top two fights.

Bushido Talk. Discussing UFC 234 and Ali’s crazy conspiracy theory.



Call out.

Now there’s an idea.

Russian boxing federation has made Khabib an offer for this summer.

“Grappling with fat boy”

View this post on Instagram

220 vs 180 Grappling with fat boy

A post shared by Khabib Nurmagomedov (@khabib_nurmagomedov) on

T-Wood still mad people don’t like his derivative, bad song.

This is awesome.


Carlo Pedersoli (11-2) vs. Dwight Grant (8-2); UFC Prague, Feb. 23.

Damir Ismagulov (17-1) vs. Joel Alvarez (15-1); UFC Prague, Feb. 23.

Glover Teixeira (28-7) vs. Ion Cutelaba (14-3, 1 NC); UFC Miami, April 27.


Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow.



Would you like to see an interim title fight?

This poll is closed

  • 38%
    Yes, this is a solid plan.
    (734 votes)
  • 22%
    No, wait for Tony vs. Khabib.
    (429 votes)
  • 38%
    No, strip Khabib and make it for the real belt.
    (721 votes)
1884 votes total Vote Now

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