Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson have been scheduled to fight three times; They’ve never actually fought.

The pair were scheduled to fight for the UFC Interim Lightweight Championship in the co-main event of UFC 209, which takes place today, Saturday, March 4th. It seemed too good to be true, and it was. News started to filter through around the same time that UFC Early Weigh-Ins started that Khabib had visited a hospital at 5:30am, but nobody knew whether he was out or not.

Ferguson gave us, or at least me, a little bit of hope when he hit the scale and looked unfazed and ready to fight, but a short while after, the news was confirmed by the UFC, and the fight was cancelled. Seeing as the weigh ins had already taken place, and we were less that one day away from the event, it seemed like Ferguson would just be paid, but wouldn’t fight.

Always game UFC lightweight Michael Johnson announced that he was ready to fight and would step in to face “El Cucuy”, and surprisingly, the UFC agreed, and then turned to Ferguson to see if he would accept the fight. Once again, too good to be true, Ferguson declined.

Upon reading the news that Tony Ferguson had declined the fight, I was a little disappointed, but understood his choice. Ferguson has spent his training camp preparing for a superb wrestler with limited striking, is it really smart to take a fight against another good wrestler, but one with excellent striking? No.

Although I understood the news, I was shocked, with Ferguson being the type of fighter to never turn down a challenge. What came out later, though, explained it all, and left a sour taste in my mouth. The UFC had offered Ferguson the fight, but had told him it weren’t a title fight, and he wouldn’t be paid as much.

Removing the title aspect? Totally understandable, Johnson is #7 ranked, and is coming off a loss to the guy that Ferguson was about to face. Offering Ferguson less pay though, is ridiculous. I understand that he’s not fighting Khabib Nurmagomedov, but that’s not his fault. Tony turned up, weighed in, and was ready to fight, so pay him what he was originally getting paid.

One positive I did take, is that although Ferguson didn’t fight Johnson, or Nurmagomedov, he did get paid, and the original amount that he was going to for facing the Russian.

Anyway, let’s stop feeling sorry for ourselves and look ahead. Ferguson will likely have to sit out for a little while waiting for a fight, because as we know, Khabib isn’t healthy to return right now, and Conor McGregor is out until his child is born.

There’s no confirmation that Ferguson will fight either of those men next, but them two choices are most likely. What’s most likely between them two, though? In my mind, it has to be Conor McGregor.

Khabib and Tony were set to fight, Khabib pulled out, so neither won, but it was Khabib who couldn’t make it to the fight. I really shouldn’t, but I’m going to take this as if Ferguson won.

What’s next for Tony Ferguson? I think it will be, and I hope it’s Conor McGregor. He obviously has a while to wait for the Irishman, but it makes complete sense. The winner of what should have been the UFC 209 co-main event was going to face Conor next, and Tony made it to the scales, whereas Khabib didn’t.

Ferguson is an intriguing fighter, he has excellent striking, excellent wrestling, and an excellent ground game. He is also extremely unpredictable which makes him near impossible to prepare for. For me, Tony Ferguson vs. Conor McGregor is an intriguing match-up, and I’d love to see it, and hope it happens next.