Floyd Mayweather might be the only fighter on Conor McGregor’s mind right now, but the UFC lightweight champion will have to return to the octagon and defend his belt eventually.
Who that fight will be against most likely will be determined at UFC 216, where Tony Ferguson will fight Kevin Lee for the interim lightweight belt to highlight the main event.
Ferguson hasn’t fought since November, when he defeated Rafael dos Anjos via unanimous decision to improve his winning streak to nine fights. He last lost in 2012 to Michael Johnson and has risen to No. 2 in the UFC lightweight rankings. He was scheduled to fight No. 1-ranked lightweight Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 209 for the interim belt, but the Russian pulled out due to injury.
Lee, on the other hand, is an up-and-comer who made a big statement in his last performance at UFC Fight Night Oklahoma City, where he defeated Michael Chiesa via submission in the first round. Lee has four straight finishes and is on a five-fight winning streak. He is currently ranked No. 7 in the rankings.
Neither Ferguson or Lee is a big name, but both have proven themselves worthy of a title shot if they win the interim belt. However, because they’re not household names, it’ll be interesting to see how McGregor, who has essentially held the lightweight belt hostage since winning the belt at UFC 205, will feel about fighting the winner.
Thumbnail photo via Joe Camporeale/USA TODAY Sports Images
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