MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani annunced that unnamed sources have confirmed a much anticipated Tony Ferguson vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov matchup. The fight will take place at UFC 223 in Brooklyn at the Barclays Center on April 7th.
Russian news outlet TASS first reported the fight though at the time, no location was mentioned.
News on this is still very new and there are a few questions that need to be answered. Namely, will they fight for Ferguson’s interim lightweight title, or will Conor McGregor will be stripped of his belt, making the UFC 223 bout for the vacant undisputed championship.
On Wednesday morning, UFC president Dana White appeared on the “Toucher and Rich” radio show, where he mentioned that he expected the Ferguson-Nurmagomedov matchup to take place in Brooklyn. However, he was not asked about and did not clarify which iteration of the lightweight title will be on the line.
Ferguson won an interim belt this past October at UFC 216 when he defeated Kevin Lee by third-round triangle choke submission. It was the 10th consecutive win for “El Cucuy” who improved to 23-3 as a pro. Since that win, Ferguson has been openly lobbying for bouts with McGregor and Nurmagomedov.
This marks the fourth time that Ferguson and Nurmagomedov have been in talks to fight dating back to December 2015. Their first meeting was canceled due to a Nurmagomedov injury, and the second by a Ferguson injury. The third cancellation made the most headlines as the two were scheduled to compete for an interim title last March at UFC 209, only to see the fight canceled when Nurmagomedov was hospitalized less than 48 hours before the event due to complications related to his weight cut.
In his first fight since the UFC 209 mishap, Nurmagomedov improved his pro record to 25-0 with a lopsided unanimous decision win over Edson Barboza at UFC 219 on Dec. 30.
A strawweight title rematch between champion Rose Namajunas and Joanna Jedrzejczyk is also being discussed for UFC 223, though it has not been finalized yet. That bout was first reported by TalkMMA.
Andy Gonzalez is a coach at Aces Jiu Jitsu Club. He has earned his purple belt under Professor Mikal Abdullah. Follow Andy on Twitter at @GoGoGonzilla
Andy lives in Austin, Texas with his wife Amanda and their 3 beautiful children. Andy is also the father of a Marine who is honorably serving in the United States Marine Corps.