After one of the most bizarre weeks in UFC history,to claim the lightweight championship – the only lightweight championship as confirmed by Dana White at the end of the night. While Nurmagomedov now owns the only recognized belt in the division, questions abound over who the 29-year-old Dagestani's next dance partner will be.
A fight with Conor McGregor would certainly bring in the highest revenue for Nurmagomedov, but the Irishman's status is up in the air after being charged with assault and criminal mischief after attacking a bus carrying UFC fighters.
Nurmagomedov himself called for a bout with UFC legend Georges St-Pierre after defeating Iaquinta. GSP would be a great legacy fight and would generate plenty of money, but as Nurmagomedov noted in the post-event press conference, the 36-year-old may not return to the Octagon. St-Pierre himself said that the, which could side in the Russian's favor as he observes Ramadan beginning in May with a return not likely until fall.
The week began with a fight scheduled between Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson, who had to drop out due to an LCL injury and lost his interim belt as a result. This was the fourth time the fight was scheduled and fell through, prompting White to say he'd never book it again. White, however, has gone back on his word more than a few times in the past. Ferguson has a claim to a title shot, having lost his interim belt without losing in the Octagon since 2012, though it's fair to question if he will be the same fighter after knee surgery at age 34.
After Ferguson dropped out, Max Holloway was set to battle Nurmagomedov on six days' notice before being deemed medically unfit to go on Friday due to his immense weight cut. Holloway, the featherweight champion, says he wants to move up to 155 pounds and, if he had a full fight camp, would be a very interesting matchup for Nurmagomedov.
It would be surprising to see anyone other than Holloway, St-Pierre, McGregor, or Ferguson step in against Nurmagomedov, but if someone said a week before UFC 223 that Iaquinta would be facing the undefeated Dagestani, they'd have been called insane.
Copyright © 2018 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.