The UFC lightweight title picture has been the subject of much debate since Conor McGregor claimed the throne at UFC 205.
McGregor, a two-promotion and former two-division champion, captured the 155-pound belt when he outclassed and TKO’d Eddie Alvarez last month.
Since then, the Irishman has demanded a stake in the UFC and hinted at a move to boxing, leaving his future as LW champion in question.
Many feel that, should McGregor defend his title instead of pursuing another fight at 170 lbs, he should face the winner of Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Tony Ferguson.
The two top lightweight contenders haven’t been officially booked to fight, but it’s expected that ‘The Eagle’ and ‘El Cucuy’ will square off for the interim title early next year.
UFC president Dana White, though, recently hinted that that might not be the case.
Speaking to FOX5 in New York, the head promoter revealed the UFC’s plans to expand into Russia and book Nurmagomedov against McGregor.
“We’re focused very heavily on Russia right now,” White said, per Mike Bohn of MMA Junkie. “First of all, there’s tons of talent coming out of Russia, and a lot of fans. There’s a fighter named Khabib who’s from Russia, and he’s insanely popular. The next fight could be Conor vs. Khabib.”
Nurmagomedov is undefeated as a professional fighter and extended his win streak to 24-0 when he battered and submitted the highly-touted Michael Johnson at New York’s Madison Square Garden Arena on Nov. 12.
McGregor’s coach, John Kavanagh, thinks the Dagestani native is a fantastic fighter but would prefer his prized student to face Nate Diaz in a trilogy fight. ‘The Notorious’ has yet to comment on his next potential opponent.