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03rd Mar 2017

UFC may have found the perfect Khabib Nurmagomedov replacement

Story writes itself

Ben Kiely

Another big title fight has fallen through, proving yet again that MMA fans can’t have nice things.

This time it was Khabib Nurmagomedov who was forced to withdraw from his interim lightweight title fight against Tony Ferguson at UFC 209’s main event.

It’s arguably the most intriguing fight the UFC can possibly put on, but for some reason, the universe seems hell bent on stopping it from ever happening. This was the third time the fight fell through after being scheduled, only this time the stakes were higher with that coveted golden strap on the line.

Although the Dagestani is definitely not fighting on Saturday night, there’s still a chance we could see ‘El Cucuy’ make an appearance after he came in on weight.

Lando Vannata, who’s set to face Sweden’s David Teymur on the main card has already thrown his hat into the ring. ‘Groovy’ has history with Ferguson, after impressing but ultimately losing his promotional debut to the streaking lightweight.

He took the fight on extremely short notice when Ferguson was closing in on his own title shot and had him rocked in the first round. However, Ferguson dug deep and pulled the submission out of the bag in the second stanza.

The replacement fighter that looks more likely though is Michael Johnson. Although ‘the Menace’ is coming off a grueling submission loss to Nurmagomedov at UFC 205, he does have the claim of being the last fighter to beat Ferguson.

He defeated ‘El Cucuy’ via unanimous decision at UFC on Fox 3 in 2012. Since then Johnson has gone 6-5 inside the Octagon while Ferguson is trying to bring his impressive win-streak up to 10.

Watch this space.