Talks of a Ferguson-Khabib Nurmagomedov fight emerged several times over the past two years, but it looks like Lee will get the interim title shot over Russia's perennial top contender.
"Khabib's not ready", stated Dana White when asked what happened to Nurmagomedov.
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It's unclear at this stage if the UFC's decision to make the interim title fight at UFC 216 a month earlier instead had anything to do with the fact that Nurmagomedov is now out of the picture for the time being. He was expected to face No. 1-ranked Khabib Nurmagomedov in the co-main event of UFC 209 this past March; however, "The Eagle" had a disastrous weight cut and was forced off the card the day of weigh-ins.
However, Nurmagomedov was still adamant that he would be willing to fight him in November at Madison Square Garden.
Most recently, Lee dispatched former "Ultimate Fighter" victor Michael Chiesa by first round rear naked choke to put himself into position for a top fight in the division.
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Ferguson has been on one of UFC's all-time hot streaks. Lee has won nine of his last ten UFC fights.
The 33-year-old Ferguson has run his record to 22-3 after a nine-fight win streak.
Ferguson is now on a nine-fight win streak having earned wins over the likes of Edson Barboza, Lando Vannata, and Rafael dos Anjos.
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If White's memory serves him correctly, the bout is targeted for UFC 216 live on pay-per-view (PPV) from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on October 7, 2017.