Contrary to the sensational news on Tuesday that Conor McGregor was set to be stripped of his UFC lightweight belt and top contenders Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov would do battle for the title at UFC 223 in April, it seems things are not quite so set in stone yet.
With both contenders demanding their shot at the title and McGregor still not giving any indication that he will return to the octagon anytime soon, the idea that he would be stripped of his belt in order to free up the gridlocked 155lb division certainly seems plausible, inevitable even.
So when reports emerged that very thing had happened and a new lightweight title fight was being scheduled for UFC 223, it again made sense.
Now, however, ESPN’s Brett Okamoto has revealed he has spoken to Ali Abdelaziz, Nurmagomedov’s manager, and it seems that no deal has been confirmed at this time.
Despite multiple reports of Ferguson vs. Nurmagomedov for *undisputed* lightweight title on 4/7, Khabib's manager @AliAbdelaziz00 tells me it's not done, details still being worked out. Possibility of McGregor being stripped is real, but not done as of now.
— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) January 16, 2018
While it appears there is certainly a plan in the works behind the closed doors of the UFC’s offices, McGregor remains the lightweight king. The question is, for how long?
Despite the question marks over the mooted title fight between El Cucuy and The Eagle, fans have been emphatically voicing their approval of a contest that will reward one of these two men with the undisputed lightweight title.
— Jonathan Renteria (@Jonn17200) January 16, 2018
I'M SO EXCITED!!!! pic.twitter.com/0N8NwBUQg6
— Bama Mafia (@BamaMafiaPicks) January 17, 2018
It’s about time ?
— Adam Graham (@adamgraham95) January 17, 2018
“Best lightweight MMA fight on the entire planet” that’s god damn right
— tod handrick (@Purple_Todri) January 17, 2018
Can’t wait to see this.. maybe Connor will come out after the winner, I think both guys would give him problems tho!
— John Cakora (@johnnysac1502) January 17, 2018
Dear MMA Gods… let this fight happen.. . Please… let this fight happen
— Christopher Redmayne (@chrisredmayne) January 16, 2018
this isn't confirmed
— Jimmy K (@greencultivator) January 16, 2018
— Aaron Heckendorn (@HeckendornAaron) January 16, 2018
While Dana White and the UFC remain silent on the matter, it would appear that there is a real appetite for this fight. Now we just have to wait and see if it actually happens.