UFC 216 Interim Lightweight Title: Khabib Nurmagomedov Thinks Tony Ferguson Will Beat Kevin Lee

Who else expected to see Khabib Nurmagomedov’s name on the UFC interim lightweight title card? Khabib is a dominant force. And many a bet on the UFC 216 was planned with him in mind.

But, it looks like October 7th will bring with it a somewhat altered main event. That isn’t to say that the Tony Ferguson/Kevin Lee match will be a lackluster affair. Of course, nothing is ever certain with things like this.

And there are certainly UFC fans out there looking forward to this match. But, there was definitely some disappointment noted when Tony Ferguson and Kevin Lee were announced for the UFC interim lightweight title, the main event of UFC 216.

The interim title action will take place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and even if Kevin Lee and Tony Ferguson do deliver on the 7th, there are analysts and pundits who will ruminate about just how superior the match with Khabib would have been.

The undefeated Dagestani star brings a bit of a spark to every event in which he is involved. But maybe people should cut the UFC some slack. After all, Khabib does have an infuriating tendency of withdrawing from fights. The UFC could have looked at that long and sordid history and determined that Khabib wasn’t worth the hassle.

The Kevin Lee/Tony Ferguson announcement couldn’t have been news to Khabib because he didn’t seem too bothered by his exclusion from the title fight. In fact, he was in good spirits.

He refused to be baited into the trash talk that was inundating the lead up to the Ferguson/Lee match. He instead took the high road and wished everyone involved in the fight the best of luck.

The UFC can get ugly in the arena of verbal assaults and Khabib knows this well. During his more recent interviews, he made mention of the affinity Lee and Ferguson had for talking trash about everything and everyone.

The unstoppable Russian typically steers clear of such shenanigans and he was happy to do so this time around as well. He also complimented both Lee and Ferguson. He acknowledged their abilities as strong athletes with formidable fighting capabilities.

And he was more than happy to wish them both the best of luck in the ring. He also hoped that both athletes would steer clear of injuries in the ring, at least until he had gotten his turn against one or both of them.

Khabib Nurmagomedov seemed certain that Ferguson would come out ahead when all was said and done. The edge he gave Ferguson was only a slight one but it was an edge none the less.

Additionally, Khabib seemed certain that the fight would go the full five rounds, with Ferguson eventually inching ahead of Lee.

It has been suggested that Khabib’s absence from UFC 216 is a ploy to prepare him and fans for a more interesting bout down the line. Nurmagomedov has won all the 24 professional mixed martial arts fights he has encountered.

And all his victories have been very decisive. Anyone that saw him bludgeon Michael Johnson into submission at UFC205 can attest to that fact. There might be plans to pit Khabib against either Lee or Ferguson, depending on which one wins UFC216.