As UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor focuses on entering a boxing ring and trying to bring down the greatest boxer of the modern era, Tony Ferguson and Kevin Lee look to restore some sense of order in the form of a UFC interim title fight scheduled for UFC 216 on October 7.
The contest, announced by UFC President Dana White on Tuesday, marks the organization getting their house in order and, in doing so, pacifying contenders who have reluctantly stayed patient during McGregor’s prolonged gatecrashing of the boxing world.
“Conor has told me he’s going to fight again this year,” said White, “but I don’t know what’s going to happen. You can’t put these guys on the shelf all this time. We’ll see what happens in this fight. That fight is going to move forward and we’ll see what’s next for Conor.”
Ferguson, 23-3, had initially been paired with Khabib Nurmagomedov with a view to deciding an interim champion earlier this year. But Nurmagomedov had other ideas. The fight, scheduled for UFC 209, was scrapped after the Russian was hospitalised post-weight-cut. Ferguson, as a result, has yet to appear in 2017, despite boasting an incredible nine-fight win-streak.
Lee, 16-2, meanwhile, is a relatively new name in the frame. The 25-year-old from Detroit has won each of his last five fights and made a real splash in June when he submitted fellow contender Michael Chiesa in the very first round. Since then, he has made it his mission to secure a title opportunity of some description and has bumped heads with Ferguson more than once in the process.
Now it’s signed and confirmed, expect fireworks on October 7. Ferguson vs. Lee is one of the fights of the year.