The fight that never was is back on. This morning, Dana White was on the Toucher and Rich radio show where he revealed that Tony Ferguson vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov is a “go” for UFC 223. Ariel Helwani confirmed the news as well. White did specify which lightweight championship would be on the line in the fight.
Tony Ferguson is the interim lightweight champion in the UFC and achieved that honor by defeating Kevin Lee at UFC 216. As we all know, Conor McGregor is the undisputed champion in the division and has yet to commit to a return date. On Monday, Dana White hinted at possibly stripping the undisputed title from McGregor if he didn’t agree to fight sooner than September.
Ferguson vs. Nurmagomedov is a fight that dates back to 2015. Since then, its been booked three times and all three times it was cancelled due to injury or weigh-in issues. Here’s to hoping the fourth times a charm.
Heydorn’s Analysis: It can’t go understated just how good of a fight this will be. Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov have been on a collision course for years and in a few short months, we may finally get to see it. That is intriguing enough. Conor McGregor adds an entirely new level of interest. If the news breaks that the Ferguson/Nurmagomedov fight is for the interim championship, it can be reasoned that we can expect to see McGregor in the octagon sometime soon. On the flip side, if the fight at UFC 223 is for the undisputed title, it can be reasoned that we may never see Conor McGregor fight again. The third scenario sees McGregor being stripped of the title and then challenging for it again later down the road on his terms and on his timeline. In my opinion, the winner of Ferguson vs. Nurmagomedov will be the next man to take on McGregor and McGregor will either be defending a title for the first time or looking to win back a title he never officially lost.
WEDNESDAY NEWS NOTEBOOK
–Jon Jones passes polygraph test. According to sources, former UFC champion Jon Jones passed a polygraph test regarding whether he knowingly took steroids ahead of his championship fight against Daniel Cormier at UFC 214. Jones passed the test which was administered on December 7th.
Heydorn’s Analysis: This certainly is a twist, but rules are rules. Regardless of whether or not Jones was aware he was taking the illegal substance he still should not have been taking it. As a fighter and as a professional athlete he is responsible for what is in his body. He’s getting no sympathy from me.
–Vitor Belfort calls out Michael Bisping. Over the weekend after his fight at UFC St. Louis was called off, Vitor Belfort challenged former UFC middleweight champion, Michael Bisping, to a fight at UFC London. Bisping declined and Belfort isn’t happy about it. In an Instagram post, Belfort said,”What a shame, Bisping.” “UFC just informed me that you have declined the fight. I understand you are scared. The images above pretty much explain it all… So stop pretending that you are tough and just admit that you are afraid. And I thought you were man enough to step up in the octagon with me again, my mistake… unfortunately looks like we will not be delivering to the fans the fight they want to see… Happy retirement, you must be feeling amazing leaving the sport thru the back door… To be a legend is not to everyone!”
Heydorn’s Analysis: My feelings on this fall directly in the realm of “don’t care.” Both fighters are legendary UFC guys, but neither is long for the MMA world. Given their history, it would have been fun to see them against each other for the last time, but it not happening won’t keep me up at night.
–Jamie Moyle vs. Maryna Moroz is off at UFC 220. The only women’s fight on the UFC 220 card will not be taking place. Jamie Moyle has been forced to bow out due to injury. James Lynch broke the story first.
–UFC on FOX 27 has lost a prominent fight. Ovince Saint Preux vs. Ilir Latifi have both confirmed that their light heavyweight fight at UFC on FOX 27 is off. Latifi withdrew because of injury. In a post on Twitter, Saint Preux confirmed that he is looking for a replacement opponent.
. @Latifimma is hurt & out of our scrap next Sat in Charlotte, NC #UFConFOX27 who wants to step up and scrap? I’m even open to going up in weight if NO guys in my division will step up? Looking for someone to do what I do: step up and fight… pic.twitter.com/lvznRvE22I
— Ovince Saint Preux (@003_OSP) January 17, 2018
–Jordan Johnson vs. Adam Milstead added to UFC 222. Jordan Johnson vs. Adam Milstead has been added to the UFC 222 card in Las Vegas. The event is headlined by UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway defending his title against Frankie Edgar.
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