Despite only receiving a nine-month suspension for his actions during the post-fight brawl at UFC 229, Khabib Nurmagomedov recently indicated that he plans to sit out for a full year as a show of solidarity with his two teammates who were suspended for 12 months.
However, UFC President Dana White has stated that as far as he’s concerned Nurmagomedov won’t be able to do that due to the fact that he’s the current lightweight champion.
“Guys can’t sit out and wait that long when you have the title,” White said at Saturday night’s UFC 234 post-fight press conference. “You can’t do it. So if that’s true and he’s going to do that, then we’d have to figure out something else and you start looking at whether it’s Conor McGregor-Tony Ferguson or one of these other guys.”
It’s unclear here if that means the UFC would be looking to strip Nurmagomedov of the belt and have a fight for the vacant title, or whether they would be looking to put together an interim title in the mean time.
However, Donald Cerrone recently claimed that a rumored fight between himself and McGregor would be for the interim belt, although since then ‘The Notorious’ has also touted the likes of Anderson Silva and Nate Diaz as being other potential opponents for his next Otagon outing.