Nothing is set in stone, but after Tony Ferguson's recent victory over Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone at UFC 238, it appears that "El Cucuy" is the likely candidate to get the next shot at the UFC lightweight championship.
Ferguson used to be the interim lightweight champion, but had to pull out of a UFC 223 bout with now-champion Khabib Nurmagomedov because of a freak injury. Ferguson's interim champion designation disintegrated when Nurmagomedov defeated last-minute replacement Al Iaquinta to become the UFC lightweight champion.
Having won two bouts since then and currently riding a 12-fight winning streak, there's no denying that Ferguson is the rightful No. 1 contender to whomever wins the UFC 242 headlining bout between Nurmagomedov and interim lightweight champion Dustin Poirier. White, however, slightly hedged that bet with his wording, perhaps cracking to the door open for Conor McGregor to sneak back into the mix, despite having lost to Nurmagomedov via a fourth-round submission at UFC 229.
"Khabib is fighting Dustin Poirier in Abu Dhabi in September. Then I don’t know, we’ll see. Tony Ferguson just came off a great win over Cowboy Cerrone, and I’m assuming he’s next," White said during a recent interview on LV Sports Biz with Alan Snel in Las Vegas.
Though he gave that early nod to Ferguson, he didn't seem to rule out McGregor, who wields a lot of power when it comes to his UFC future because of the shadow he casts over the global sports scene.
"We’ll see what happens with Conor, what Conor wants to do. Conor is super rich. It’s hard to get guys to fight when they’re super rich," White said when explaining McGregor's status.
"Conor McGregor has been amazing for the company, the sport, introducing the sport to a lot of Europeans who didn't otherwise watch the sport back then. He's a kid that loves to fight, but he's also a kid with a lot of other options."
Ferguson is likely to remain on the sidelines at least until Nurmagomedov and Poirier fight at UFC 242 on Sept. 7 in Abu Dhabi and then fight the winner. McGregor, however, has been waiting in the wings for the opportunity that appeases his desire to fight and his business sense, so it's likely that nothing will be iron-clad until we see how Nurmagomedov vs. Poirier pans out.
Dana White on LV Sports Biz with Alan Snel
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