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Dana White reveals UFC 223 bout for Ferguson and Nurmagomedov

It’s the fourth time the lightweight rivals have been scheduled to meet in the octagon since 2015.

UFC president Dana White stands between Tony Ferguson, right, and Khabib Nurmagomedov.
UFC president Dana White stands between Tony Ferguson, right, and Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Image: John Locher

A MUCH-ANTICIPATED LIGHTWEIGHT bout between Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov will take place at UFC 223 in Brooklyn on Saturday, 7 April.

That’s according to Dana White. The UFC president revealed the booking today while promoting this Saturday’s UFC 220 card in Boston during an appearance on the ‘Toucher and Rich’ radio show.

However, White didn’t clarify exactly what will be at stake when Ferguson and Nurmagomedov meet at the Barclays Center. Reports circulated online last night which claimed that the pair will fight for the undisputed lightweight title, which is to be stripped from Conor McGregor.

Those reports may have been premature or entirely inaccurate, but McGregor’s reign is certainly looking precarious as his absence from the octagon continues. The Dubliner hasn’t competed in mixed martial arts since he won the lightweight belt from Eddie Alvarez in November 2016.

Speaking on Sunday night, White said McGregor doesn’t intend to fight again until September — in which case he will “absolutely” be relieved of the 155-pound title as a result of his inactivity.

Should the UFC opt to do so prior to April’s clash of Ferguson and Nurmagomedov, Ferguson (23-3) would enter the bout as the division’s undisputed champion. The 33-year-old has held an interim title since his victory over Kevin Lee in October.

This is the fourth time that Ferguson and 29-year-old Russian Nurmagomedov (25-0) — who maintained his unblemished record with a comprehensive victory over Edson Barboza last month — have been scheduled to fight.

Previous bookings fell through in December 2015 (due to a rib injury to Nurmagomedov), April 2016 (because of a lung issue Ferguson was dealing with) and March 2017 (as Nurmagomedov was hospitalised while cutting weight on the eve of the fight).

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Paul Dollery

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