With the UFC lightweight title set to be unified on October 24th. by either Khabib Nurmagomedov or Justin Gaethje – three former world champions lay in wait, awaiting the result.
For former interim titleholder, Tony Ferguson – the fan-favourite all-rounder has suggested a potential title-eliminator opposite fellow one-time interim best, Dustin Poirier, or former two-weight world champion, Conor McGregor for his next Octagon appearance.
Ferguson, 36, met with the aforenoted, Gaethje on short-notice at UFC 249 in Jacksonville two months ago, and stunningly seen his division tying, twelve fight win streak snapped via fifth-round knockout.
The 10th. Planet Jiu-Jitsu black belt was undefeated since May of 2012, but must now return to the drawing board, and during an interview with ESPN reporter, Ariel Helwani – Ferguson suggested pairings with either Poirier or McGregor – with the victor meeting either Khabib or Gaethje in an undisputed title pairing.
“You want to give me, Conor (McGregor), you give me Conor. Ferguson explained. “You want to give me, (Dustin) Poirier, we’ll make it happen – then we’ll fight for the winner of the (Justin) Gaethje and Khabib (Nurmagomedov) fight.”
American Top Team staple, Poirier returned for the first time since his submission defeat to Khabib last September in June at UFC Fight Night Vegas, scoring a unanimous decision win over high-level contender, Dan Hooker in one of the best fights of the annum so far.
Also making his first UFC appearance since his bad-blooded championship challenge defeat to Khabib – McGregor snapped his extended hiatus with a forty-second demolition of longtime contender, Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone at UFC 246 in January.
With both Poirier and McGregor perceived as a single win away from a lightweight title tilt, a clash with the #3 ranked Ferguson, makes a lot of sense – where a win for either of the three would most certainly guarantee them their next shot at 155-pound gold.
Ferguson recently switched management firms from Ballengee Group to VaynerSports where he joins a slew of former world champions including, Eddie Alvarez, Urijah Faber, Chris Weidman, and Vitor Belfort.