With a measure of uncertainty surrounding the next time Khabib Nurmagomedov will defend his lightweight belt, UFC president Dana White has given his thoughts on who should get the next shot at the Dagestani fighter.
In an interview for ESPN, White insisted that he has not considered an immediate rematch for Khabib against Conor McGregor, after the former's dominant win over the Dubliner at UFC 229:
I haven't even thought about a rematch, I know Conor wants a rematch, but we need to do what's right and what's fair and we'll see how that all plays out.
When asked who he thought deserved the next title shot as a fight fan and not a promoter, White named the fighter which Khabib has been scheduled to fight four times:
I mean as a fight fan you gotta go with Tony [Ferguson]. Tony had the belt, tweaked his knee, got stripped. This [Conor/Khabib] fight happens, Tony never lost the belt in a fight, either did Conor, but Conor got the opportunity to fight for the belt. I think Tony gets the next shot.
White was also quizzed on GSP's interest in fighting Khabib, but dismissed the possibility of the Canadian getting an immediate title shot, arguing that he would have to beat a top five fighter in order to put himself in contention for a title shot. The UFC president also cast doubt on whether the 37-year-old could make 155 pounds.
As for Nate Diaz, White stated that he would only make another fight for the Stockton native if he is desperate to get back in the octagon. Diaz was scheduled to fight Dustin Poirier at UFC 230 but his opponent had to pull out with a hip injury:
I'm not interested in making a Diaz fight until Diaz is just absolutely dying to fight. We'll offer him fights we always offer him fights, we've probably offered this kid 50 fights since he fought Conor. When he's ready to fight he'll let us know.