The #UFC209 co-main event between Khabib Nurmagomedov & #TonyFerguson is promoted as a fight for the interim lightweight championship, but in all honesty, it's the latest shot at a "Red Panty Night" sponsored by current champion #Conor McGregor.
At some point, McGregor will put the spectacle of a Mayweather boxing match behind him, whether it comes to fruition or not, and he will have to defend a UFC title. It's hard to see him challenging for the featherweight title unless Holloway is able to defeat Aldo in spectacular fashion. The looming prospect of McGregor challenging Georges St-Pierre is still available, but it'd be difficult to justify the matchup if #GSP captures the middleweight title in his fight against #MichaelBisping.
That leaves the winner of UFC 209's interim title fight with the clearest road toward McGregor. Nurmagomedov and Conor had their run in with each other during UFC 205 fight week and the stylistic matchup between the two would provide for great discussion. An undefeated Russian fighter with a hard-nosed style is the perfect mainstream foil for the flashy and powerful McGregor.
Tony Ferguson would enter a McGregor unification bout as the heavy underdog, but he has the flare to talk himself out of that position. Ferguson has proven himself as a quote machine and the build-up to the fight would rival the McGregor-Diaz media appearances.
All that is left is for Ferguson and Nurmagomedov to settle their score in the Octagon at UFC 209. The winner knows what lies ahead, but their focus is only on getting one step closer to becoming the undisputed lightweight champion of the world.