This past weekend at UFC 209, undefeated lightweight Khabib Nurmagomedov was set to step into the Octagon to fight streaking lightweight Tony Ferguson in a highly anticipated interim lightweight title fight. Unfortunately, after Nurmagomedov was hospitalized the morning of UFC 209 weigh-ins, the UFC was forced to scrap the bout, and pull Tony Ferguson from the fight as well.
In addition to crowning the UFC interim lightweight champion, the fight was set to determine who would be the first challenger to Conor McGregor‘s UFC lightweight title.
During his ‘Believe You Me’ podcast, UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping explained why he feels as though because of the UFC 209 fiasco, a fight between McGregor & Nurmagomedov will never happen:
“ONE MILLION PER CENT, IT KILLS HIS CHANCES OF EVER FIGHTING CONOR AND IT PUTS THE UFC IN A VERY DIFFICULT POSITION. IF THEY MAKE THAT REMATCH BETWEEN KHABIB AND TONY, AND KHABIB WINS, THERE IS NO WAY CONOR IS GOING TO ACCEPT THAT BECAUSE HE IS GOING TO SAY, ‘I’M NOT GOING TO TAKE THAT RISK OF HAVING AN ENTIRE FIGHT CAMP FOR HIM NOT TO MAKE IT TO THE OCTAGON SO I’M NOT GOING TO DO IT’.”
Bisping’s prediction could very well prove to be true. Following his UFC 205 victory over Eddie Alvarez to cement his place in the UFC history books as the first ever simultaneous two-divison champion, McGregor was asked about the possibility of fighting Nurmagomedov, to which he responded by saying that due to Nurmagomedov’s track record of injuring himself throughout training camp, he needs to see that ‘The Eagle’ can consistently fight without being forced to pull out due to injuries.
McGregor of course has yet to fully commit to fighting in the UFC for his next fight. Throughout his hiatus from the Octagon due to the upcoming birth of his firstborn son, McGregor has been tied to a boxing match with Floyd Mayweather, however negotiations are ongoing and the odds of a fight happening are slim to none.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 3/10/2017.