In the main event, we saw streaking lightweight stars Tony Ferguson and Kevin Lee collide for the UFC interim lightweight title. Though Lee started strong, nearly finishing Ferguson in the first, Ferguson surged back in the later rounds, ultimately putting Lee away with a choke in the third round.
While Lee performed admirably against Ferguson, it was initially a bit of a surprise when he was announced as Ferguson’s opponent. The expectation instead was that the UFC would make its latest attempt at booking an interim title fight between Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov – a booking that has fallen through many times in the past.
Given that he was not included in this bout, you might expect Nurmagomedov to be lying in wait, ready to hit the winner of the fight with a bit of post-fight trash talk. Instead, however, he took to Twitter to offer Ferguson some sincere congratulations.
“GREAT PERFORMANCE, [TONY FERGUSON],” NURMAGOMEDOV SAID. “MY CONGRATULATIONS. YOU DESERVE THIS BELT.”
Having won the UFC interim lightweight title, the hope is that Ferguson will now battle undisputed UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor to unify the lightweight title. Given that McGregor is also flirting with the idea of a trilogy fight with Nate Diaz, however, it’s possible that we do still see Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov collide in the near future.
After watching UFC 216, what’s your prediction for a Tony Ferguson vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov fight?
This article first appeared onBJPenn.comon 10/5/2017.