Tony Ferguson to fight Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 223

UFC interim lightweight champion Tony Ferguson is to fight Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 223 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, on April 7th.

It’s unconfirmed whether the fight will be for Ferguson’s interim title or if dormant champion Conor McGregor will be stripped of his belt.

This is the fourth time this matchup has been booked by the UFC. Nurmagomedov has pulled out of this fight twice – in 2015 and 2017 – due to injury and then a failed weight cut. Meanwhile, Ferguson pulled out of the contest scheduled in 2016 citing a lung issue.

The fight was initially reported by Russian news outlet Tass.ru. MMA Fighting‘s Ariel Helwani subsequently confirmed the announcement.

https://twitter.com/TonyFergusonXT/status/952333530335404032

Ferguson teased an upcoming fight earlier this week, while Nurmagomedov and his management also made statements alluding to a bout agreement.

Earlier on Wednesday morning, UFC president Dana White appeared to confirm the fight as being rescheduled while appearing on the “Toucher and Rich” radio show.

In the interview, White mentioned how he expected Ferguson and Nurmagomedov to fight in Brooklyn. However, there was no specific talk on what belt Ferguson and Nurmagomedov would be competing for at UFC 223.

Nurmagomedov is coming off a dominant win over Brazilian lightweight staple Edson Barboza at UFC 219. Meanwhile, this is slated to be Ferguson’s first fight as champion following his third-round submission win over Kevin Lee for the interim title at UFC 216 in October.

According to Helwani’s report, a UFC strawweight championship rematch between Rose Namajunas and former champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk is rumoured to serve as UFC 223’s co-main event. Though, these reports are unconfirmed.

Jake Hughes

Jake Hughes

Jake Hughes is an MMA writer who has covered the sport since 2013 for publications such as Vice Sports, Fightland, Sherdog and now Fighters Only, where he serves as freelance digital editor.