Khabib Nurmagomedov was crowned the UFC lightweight champion after defeating Al Iaquinta back at UFC 223. With Iaquinta having not even been within the top ten of the division’s official rankings at the time, “The Eagle” receiving the title has caused some controversy.
Conor McGregor was initially the reigning UFC lightweight champion. However, the fighter held the title for two years without ever making a single defense of the belt.
Consequently, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) elected to strip “Notorious” of his title so that interim champion Tony Ferguson and top contender Khabib Nurmagomedov could fight for the undisputed belt. However, Ferguson injured himself just six days before UFC 223.
After replacement opponent Max Holloway was deemed unfit to finish his weight cut, Al Iaquinta stepped up on just a day’s notice to fight Khabib Nurmagomedov for the night’s main event. The UFC then decided to strip Ferguson of his interim title as well, offering Nurmagomedov and Iaquinta a shot at the undisputed belt.
Speaking on Submission Radio, fellow UFC lightweight Michael Chiesa offered his thoughts on the matter.
“In my eyes, Tony Ferguson’s the champion. I mean, his win streak has a lot of prestigious names to it. You know, he beat Kevin Lee, he beat Rafael dos Anjos, he beat Edson Barboza, he’s got that long laundry list of guys in his win streak.”
“So, I look at Tony as the champion. But, you know, I’m not taking anything away from Khabib. He’s got, what, 25-0, 26-0 record all together? So, his win streak’s insane, but I look at Tony as the champion. Now, if Tony and Khabib fight, who knows how that fight goes, but just in my eyes I think that Tony’s the champion.”
“Actually, of all the guys, I’d rather fight Tony. Just because Tony and I were supposed to fight in 2016 and that never came to fruition. And I look at Tony as the toughest match-up for me. With that being said, I think him being the toughest match-up for me will bring out the best in me.”
“I’m the type of guy where I feel like if you throw me in against the guy that’s gonna be my hardest match-up, I think that’s gonna bring out the best in me, and I know that the best of me can beat anybody on any given day to become the world champion. So, Tony is the fight that I like for myself.”