UFC reportedly making lightweight title plans not involving Conor McGregor 3 years ago

UFC reportedly making lightweight title plans not involving Conor McGregor

The show must go on, even if Conor McGregor's not a part of it.

Conor McGregor's failure to defend the lightweight belt for over a year has left the division in a bit of a mess. It has been four months since his diamond-encrusted panty night against Floyd Mayweather and it is still unknown if and when he will return to the Octagon.

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Tony Ferguson was crowned the interim king in his absence and he is content to wait until either a unification bout is booked or he is promoted to undisputed champion. Until that decision is made, the chasing pack of contenders are left in limbo.

Two of the very best 155 lbers on the planet are set to duke it out on the promotion's 2017 closer. The bout between number two-ranked Khabib Nurmagomedov and number fourth-ranked Edson Barboza should really be a title eliminator. Both men are riding impressive streaks and the only direction the victor should be looking after that fight is up.

If Khabib wins, the two belt-holders will remain the only two fighters ahead of him. If Barboza is victorious, he will more than likely take Nurmagomedov's spot. Therefore the only fight worth taking for them in the division is a title shot, but there is no undisputed champ to give them that honour.

According to Nurmagomedov, if he wins at UFC 219, he will likely be fighting for the belt. The undefeated Dagestani claimed during a recent social media Q & A that the UFC supposedly have plans for him to challenge 'El Cucuy' for the strap in 2018.

"The perfect conclusion will be after fight. We have spoken with the UFC. If I win, I will fight with Tony (Ferguson) in March or April."

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It's important to note that the translation of the Q & A is very rough, but this would be a smart move from the matchmakers. No point in holding up the division any longer if McGregor isn't going to defend the strap in the near future.

That being said, fans may find it difficult to get amped up for Ferguson vs Nurmagomedov. The bout has been booked three times only to have fallen through before fight night.  The first time they were scheduled to fight in December 2015, Khabib pulled out with a rib injury. When they were set to main event UFC on Fox 19, it was 'El Cucuy' who withdrew after doctors confirmed he had fluid and blood in his lung.

Then, of course, there was that devastating news that Nurmagomedov's botched weight cut forced him out of UFC 209's co-main for the interim strap. It's one of the most stylistically intriguing match-ups in UFC history, but no one wants that wound opened up again.

If it gets booked again, it bloody well better happen.

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