After McGregor, Does Khabib's Future Feature Ferguson or Suspension?

Monday, October 8, 2018 1:16 PM UTC

Monday, Oct. 8, 2018 1:16 PM UTC

Post-fight brawl leaves things up in air for Khabib Nurmagomedov as both he and Conor McGregor consider their next UFC moves. 

<p>With UFC 229 and the post-fight melee behind us, it’s time to look and see what the future may hold for both Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov.</p><p>We learned that while McGregor may be the biggest star in all of combat sports, Nurmagomedov is the best lightweight in the world. His fourth-round submission of McGregor showcased exactly why The Eagle remains unbeaten and is getting close to being recognized as the best pound for pound fighter in the entire UFC. As expected, Nurmagomedov deployed his vaunted grappling to neutralize McGregor’s world class striking. But what few expected was how the fighter from Dagestan decided to stand in front of McGregor and trade punches with him.</p><p>It was an impressive performance that puts Nurmagomedov in rare air while McGregor will need to regroup after being soundly beaten by his nemesis.</p><p>Although the post-fight brawl has many thinking that <a href="" rel="nofollow" title="Check UFC Odds">a rematch is inevitable, </a>that may not be the case.</p><p>The future of Nurmagomedov is currently up in the air pending investigation by the Nevada State Athletic Commission for his role in the post-fight brawl. There’s a possibility that he could be stripped of the title and/or face a lengthy suspension. Regardless, the next opponent should be nobody else but former interim champion Tony Ferguson.</p><p>[/]{"component": "embedHTML", "code": "&lt;blockquote class=\"twitter-tweet\" data-lang=\"en\"&gt;&lt;p lang=\"en\" dir=\"ltr\"&gt;I finally get why they call him the eagle. &lt;a href=\";amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\"&gt;#ufc&lt;/a&gt; &lt;a href=\";amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\"&gt;#Khabib&lt;/a&gt; 👊👊💪💪😍😍 &lt;a href=\"\"&gt;;/a&gt;&lt;/p&gt;— Daud Chamiqe (@DChamiqe) &lt;a href=\"\"&gt;October 7, 2018&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/blockquote&gt;\n&lt;script async src=\"\" charset=\"utf-8\"&gt;&lt;/script&gt;\n"}[/]</p><p>It’s a fight that the UFC has failed to see come to fruition on numerous occasions due to odd injuries and failed weight cuts. With Ferguson dispatching of Anthony Pettis in the co-main event of UFC 229 and being the interim champion who never lost his title in a fight, a showdown between the two makes perfect sense. Both fighters maintain the top two winning streaks in the division and their history of failed showdowns certainly makes the fight just that much more intriguing.</p><p>If they were to square off, you can fully expect Nurmagomedov to open as close to a -200 favorite. He remains undefeated in 27 fights and has been an absolutely nightmare to deal with in the Octagon due to his impressive grappling, ridiculous cardio and vicious ground and pound. Ferguson has been excellent, but oddsmakers simply cannot install him as the favorite. Hopefully it is a fight we get to see sooner than later because Ferguson doesn’t need to sit on the bench and wait for the process to play out before booking his next fight.</p><p>As for McGregor, he has plenty of options, but the UFC will have to be careful booking their biggest star. If the UFC is interested in creating a possible path to a rematch with Nurmagomedov, the promotion will likely pass on a #1 contender’s bout with Tony Ferguson. It’s clear that Ferguson has earned his crack at the title and there’s no need for him to face McGregor at this point.</p><p>The obvious choice is also the easiest to make and easily one that will earn the promotion a significant amount of attention and income: Nate Diaz.</p><p>Even though Diaz is booked to face Dustin Poirier at UFC 230 in November, it really doesn’t matter if he wins or loses. That fight will always make the UFC money and is pretty easy to make considering that the two sides have each earned a victory. Obviously, it would be ideal for Diaz to beat Poirier and then face McGregor for what could be a #1 contender match. However, if Diaz loses, there’s no reason why the UFC couldn’t put these two together for a huge main event.</p><p>If that fight came to fruition, you can expect it to be at lightweight and McGregor to open as a slight favorite. The line would depend on how Diaz fares against Poirier. But even if the Stockton fighter wins, oddsmakers would be inclined to give McGregor the edge somewhere in the range of a -140. If McGregor were to win, he’d be right back in line for a massive fight with Nurmagomedov.</p><p>For those who ask why they don’t run Khabib-McGregor 2 immediately, it’s pretty dangerous to put your top star back into a fight where he was submitted. Especially when there is a fighter in Ferguson who has truly earned his way to the top.</p><p>These fights make the most sense for McGregor and Nurmagomedov, but it will all depend on the punishment handed out to Khabib before we can get a clearer picture on their respective futures.</p><p> </p>
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