Mixed martial arts (MMA) fans might get an interim UFC lightweight champion before the return of Khabib Nurmagomedov. Khabib is serving a nine-month suspension for his involvement in the post-UFC 229 brawl against Team Conor McGregor in October. However, his teammates have each been given one-year suspensions for their own involvement.
It’s expected that Khabib will sit out until his opponents’ suspensions are up as well. That means the Russian wouldn’t return to fighting action until sometime around October. Speaking to ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, UFC President Dana White was asked if an interim title is a possibility given Khabib’s decision. White admitted that the option could be explored (via BJPenn.com):
“Yeah, it probably would [make an interim title necessary if Khabib sits out nine-months for his teammates]. It probably would. Yeah. We’ll see how it plays out. I haven’t heard Khabib say any of that. He hasn’t said to me.
“So when I hear these things that come back from reporters, or fans, or whatever, ‘Oh, I heard this and that,’ … I haven’t heard that. He hasn’t said that to me, so we’ll deal with it when we deal with it.”
Dana White on Khabib Nurmagomedov’s apparent plan to sit out until November. pic.twitter.com/MKeA71iHOM
— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) February 8, 2019
What do you think about Whit admitting an interim lightweight title being a possibility in the near future?