ByAmy Kaplan, writer at
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Amy Kaplan

The entire MMA world is waiting on the results of UFC featherweight champion Conor McGregor vs. UFC lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez at like...


But the real question here isn't who will win, but rather... what comes next?

This week we saw lightweight Tony Ferguson win (crush) former lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos, which thrust him from the number three ranked lightweight spot to number one. Leaving fellow lightweight sitting in the number two spot.

That jump was a bit surprising as his opponent was only ranked number two, so the win saw him jump two spots.

The lightweights have been stacked for quite some time, with Ferguson climbing the ranks each time he wins (nine in a row now, a record). But what about Khabib? He and Tony have been slated to fight each other three times now, and it's never worked out and up until this week Khabib would have been the next in line for a title shot (if we're going by rankings.)

But we all know the UFC doesn't always follow the top 10 standings, as we see in this weekends blockbuster event.

So i'm going to explore a few possible scenarios and how that will affect Ferguson's chance at the next title shot.

McGregor Beats Alvarez, Becomes Lightweight Champ

If Conor McGregor beats Eddie Alvarez on Saturday I think that all bets are off, and the division will go awol. With McGregor as it's champion I see bigger money fights on the horizon and the proper pecking order of the division being thrown out the window. I don't see Nurmagomedov or Ferguson getting a shot (at least not right away). I think the UFC will want the Diaz trilogy fight first, or even for the Aldo rematch at 145. But if I were Ferguson, I'd be hoping that Alvarez wins.

McGregor Beats Alvarez, Vacates Lightweight Belt

This is highly unlikely as I cannot see McGregor giving up any of his belts but for the sake of argument let's just say he did. That would leave the lightweight division without a champion. So likely they'd pit Nurmagomedov and Ferguson against each other for the vacant title OR Ferguson and Alvarez depending on how Alvarez loses to McGregor.

Alvarez Beats McGregor

If Alvarez beats McGregor I see the lightweight division going back to relative normalcy. At that point the decision for who Alvarez faces next will just be between Ferguson and Nurmagomedov. At this point today, I think Ferguson would deserve that shot, he's coming off an insane win streak, is ranked higher and is arguably the more exciting fighter. This though would be further substantiated if Nurmagomedov loses at UFC 205. If he wins then we will have to see how that affects the rankings (although I don't think it should).

Bottom line is that I believe Tony deserves the next title shot, but sadly I am not the matchmaker and the UFC has blocked my number.


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