UFC lightweight Khabib Nurmagomedov (pictured) is taking his blond wig and playing elsewhere if he doesn’t fight champion Conor McGregor in his next outing.
Nurmagomedov dropped the ultimatum Wednesday on his verified Twitter account:
— khabib nurmagomedov (@TeamKhabib) November 16, 2016
Tony Ferguson is the only man Nurmagomedov is currently looking up at in the meaningless UFC lightweight rankings for a crack at the crown. Ferguson is 11 days removed from taking a unanimous decision victory over former champ Rafael Dos Anjos to collect his ninth consecutive win.
Nurmagomedov, meanwhile, is unbeaten in 24 professional fights. After dominating Michael Johnson on Saturday at UFC 205, just hours before McGregor took center stage to TKO Eddie Alvarez to capture the lightweight throne, Nurmagomedov called the UFC’s golden boy out for getting the royal treatment despite not earning it.
McGregor is essentially calling the shots as far as his agenda, so it will be up to him whether he finally defends the featherweight belt he won last December, breaks in his brand new lightweight belt or goes after Tyron Woodley’s welterweight gold in his next scrap. A rubber match with Nate Diaz is also always a possibility.
If it’s lightweight, the Nurmagomedov bout might be the bigger draw for McGregor. The rivals had to be separated backstage prior to Friday’s UFC 205 weigh-ins. However, Nurmagomedov’s elite wrestling and vicious ground-and-pound could very well prove to be McGregor’s kryptonite. Ferguson, on the other hand, is an aggressive standup specialist that could play right into McGregor’s wheelhouse.
It’s almost at the point where McGregor’s opponent doesn’t really matter. The masses are coming and paying in record numbers to see him perform, regardless of who’s standing on the other end of the cage. So the, dare I say safer route, might be Ferguson based on his style.
Regardless, it’s McGregor’s call, not Nurmagomedov’s, and possibly not even the UFC’s.
On the flipside, Nurmagomedov is under contract. So if the Russian doesn’t fight in the UFC, he won’t have much luck fighting anywhere else until they’re done with him.