Khabib’s Manager Claims He Asked the UFC Not To Strip McGregor
Conor McGregor’s title as king of the UFC’s lightweight division has been debated day in and day out by fans online ever since a rather unusual press conference was held in January.
UFC president Dana White announced that the lightweight title bout between Khabib Nurmagomedov and interim lightweight champion Tony Ferguson would be for the “real title”.
The promoter was then asked whether the UFC would be stripping McGregor of his lightweight title, which saw White stumbling through a series of vague excuses that left fans asking if McGregor was still the champion at all.
Khabib Nurmagomedov’s manager Ali Abdelaziz appeared on the MMA Hour’s podcast last week to explain that McGregor still holds the belt at 155 pounds, but only because Abdelaziz asked the UFC not to strip him of the belt.
“Let me explain to you what’s going on here. I told you this and I’m going to repeat myself again for the last time. Because you’re an instigator on this one, you are. Let me explain to you,” he told Ariel Helwani on the program.
“One of the things, when the UFC comes to me and asked for Khabib to fight for the title.
“I said, ‘Okay, I don’t want Tony Ferguson to become the official champion the same way Conor did.’
“Because I know Tony and Conor have got the same manager. And I’m not going to put a chance that somebody plays games with me. I’m way smarter than people think.
“What I said was, ‘The night of the fight, April 7, to be for the official title.’
“If Tony Ferguson gets injured, Khabib still fights for the title against [Justin] Gatheje, [Dustin] Poirier, whatever.
“But if I demanded that I want Conor to be stripped, then who is going be the champion? Tony Ferguson.”
Nurmagomedov and Ferguson are set to face off at UFC 223, the fourth time the two men have been scheduled to fight one another. Whoever wins will either be crowned the UFC lightweight or UFC interim lightweight champion, depending on whether you believe Ali Abdelaziz or Dana White and will welcome Conor McGregor back into the octagon.
Who do you think will win the bout on April 7th? Let us know in the comments below!