It's not surprising to anyone that Khabib Nurmagomedov wants the next title shot. He was, after all, asking UFC president Dana White for the next shot between rounds at UFC 205, mentioning it ever so politely while pummeling his opponent in the Octagon, backstage... the list could go on.
But now, with the return of lightweight champion Conor McGregor up in the air, he says he's willing to fight Tony Ferguson — only if it means he gets the next title shot.
But, there's a catch... (because of course).
The fight has to happen in the next three months.
"We will not wait longer than 3 months,” Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov (Khabib's father and coach) told MMANews (h/t BloodyElbow). “We'll wait for 3 months and at the 4th, we need an opponent. Let them give us any opponent. Even at 77kgs (welterweight).”
This ultimatum of sorts seems pretty ironic considering how many times Khabib has pulled out of fights with injuries (once with Ferguson, which Ferguson countered with an injury pullout of his own). But, the fight does make sense.
The MMA community is divided on which man should get the next title shot, Ferguson or Khabib. The case for Ferguson is his nine-fight win streak, plus he just beat Rafael dos Anjos, the former champ. The case for Khabib is his undefeated record and that he's ranked above Ferguson - but some are worried due to his habit of pulling out of fights.
So, a bout between these two really would cement which competitor would be worthy of the next title shot, and let's face it, it's a fight everyone wants to see.
It sounds like Khabib isn't wanting to wait around for McGregor's return, or another opponent that wouldn't get him closer to the belt.
I can't really blame him.