Khabib only willing to fight Ferguson for ‘temporary’ interim title

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Less than two weeks removed from a dominant showing at UFC 205, Khabib Nurmagomedov has already changed his tune with regards to his upcoming fight. After insisting on a title fight against Conor McGregor, the Dagestani native revealed that he is willing to take a “temporary” fight against Tony Ferguson for the interim title in Conor’s absence.

Nurmagomedov, who appeared at a Moscow mall to promote his new supplement sponsor, informed MK’s Alexey Safonov that the only two fights he is willing to accept are against McGregor and Ferguson.

“Now I just want to go underground and take a break for a month and a half,” said Khabib. “Not from training and from the media, just the media, I’m tired. And in terms of plans in the UFC, there are two: an interim title fight with Tony Ferguson, or fight for a real belt against Conor McGregor.”

While Khabib gave the UFC an ultimatum that he would not fight for the organization if they did not offer him a title shot, he loosened his expectations to include Ferguson because it is a far more realistic fight given McGregor’s lengthy absence to be with his growing family.

“Of course, I would like the second option (McGregor), but am inclined to think that they want to set me up with Ferguson. Well, I’ll take the fight.”

Over the past few weeks, UFC President Dana White repeatedly mentioned that the promotion was looking to venture into the Russian Federation in 2017. Khabib would be a natural headliner for the event and a match-up against Ferguson could be the fight that the UFC considers. In all cases, Khabib considers the interim title nothing more than a “temporary” belt that is necessary to secure his title shot.

“This is the key to the door of the room in which Conor is sitting. And I really want to open this door now but there are too many guards.”