Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov to fight for the UFC Interim Lightweight title
The two men will meet in March in Las Vegas08:18 Friday 13 January 2017, 8:18 13 Jan 2017
Conor McGregor's next opponent looks like it's been whittled down to two fighters, with news being confirmed that Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson are to fight at UFC 209.
The two fighters are to compete for a newly created UFC Interim Lightweight Title in March. The winner will then fight McGregor when he returns to the Octagon later this year.
Both Nurmagomedov and Ferguson are the top-two ranked fighters in the lightweight division behind McGregor. The duo made it clear over recent weeks that they wanted to fight each other, but purse details delayed the fight from being confirmed.
Nurmagomedov has struggled with injuries in recent years, fighting only twice since April 2014. Last year saw the Dagestani fighter return to the octagon, recording two impressive wins, including a three-round demolition of Michael Johnson at UFC 205.
The 28-year-old is unbeaten in his MMA career. With a record of 24-0, Khabib has shown how rounded a fighter he is with eight wins coming by knockout, eight submission stoppages and another eight fights going the distance.
Ferguson is unbeaten in his last nine fights, and recorded an excellent win over former champion Rafael dos Anjos in November in Mexico City. His sole loss in the UFC came against Michael Johnson (Nurmagomedov's last opponent) in 2012.
The California fighter is a former National Collegiate Wrestling Champion, and has quietly moved up the UFC rankings, to set up the final hurdle to a title fight.
McGregor is not involved in UFC 209, but it looks like he may lead the narrative in what is shaping up to be an exciting fight-card.
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