What first had the ring of the lamest April Fool’s Day prank turned out instead to be die-hard UFC fans’ worst nightmare come true: For the fourth time, a matchup between between elite lightweights Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson has been dashed, this time due to the latter’s pulling out with a torn LCL.
The two were scheduled to meet at UFC 223 on April 7. With less than a week’s notice, featherweight champion Max Holloway will get a shot at becoming a two-weight champ in a lightweight title fight with Nurmagomedov. According to Dana White, Conor McGregor will be stripped of his claim to the belt after the bout.
“As soon as these guys step in the ring and throw a punch, it’s on for the title,” White told MMA Fighting. “Whoever wins, wins the title and we’ll see what happens with Conor over the next several months. I know he had expressed some interest in fighting in September.”
Ferguson, whose interim belt will also be wiped away at UFC 223, explained in an Instagram post that the injury was the result of an accident sustained on Friday.
In Nurmagomedov’s response to the news, he referred to Ferguson’s trash talk leading up to their bout.
“Just want to advise you, don’t talk too much anymore,” Nurmagomedov wrote in his own Instagram post. “Lot of thoughts on my head right now, but I don’t want to become like you. Hope this lesson will teach you to watch your mouth.”
Tony heal up man. Just want to advise you, don’t talk too much anymore. Lot of thoughts in my head right now, but I don’t want to become like you. Hope, this lesson will teach you watch your mouth. ❗️ На счёт этой ситуации я просто хочу сказать Тони: больше не болтай, в голове конечно много мыслей, на тебя похожим не буду, надеюсь этот урок научит тебя следить за языком. #ready #ufc223 #Alhamdulillah #победатолькоотВсевышнего
White wasn’t pleased, either, vowing that “hell no” he won’t schedule Nurmagomedov and Ferguson for a fifth time: “I’m never making that fight ever again. Ever.”