When the news of Ferguson's injury was announced by UFC President Dana White, mixed martial art fans around the world held their breath and waited for McGregor's response.
Twice, though, Nurmagomedov pulled out because of injuries or illness, and twice it was Ferguson.
White did the right thing when he booked them for UFC 223. We now have an unbelievable main event between the UFC's featherweight champion Max Holloway and Khabib Nurmagomedov, but we will always wonder what could have been.
For the record, Dana called me yesterday to see if I would step in against Khabib since Max hadn't responded yet. "Opportunities like this come once in a lifetime", Holloway told KHON's Rob DeMello.
It appears as if Conor McGregor has officially been 100% stripped of the belt, and Ferguson will likely lose the interim title in the process as an official champion will be named on Saturday.
Holloway will get a chance to be the second man in UFC history to hold two titles in two separate weight divisions simultaneously, should he defeat Nurmagomedov. The two fought at UFC 217 in November 2017 where Rose captured the gold from the long time champion. "I don't think. I think if they fight, Max Holloway would give him big problem".
Nurmagomedov suspects that Holloway took this fight for the money, not for the belt. In a odd bit of irony, Holloway holds a title that McGregor held and never lost as well.
Brett Okamoto of ESPN is reporting that the injury was caused by a simple trip.
"I do not understand", Nurmagomedov said. "So I felt obligated to do more than what I actually wanted to".
The new UFC 223 headliner almost could have featured the featherweight division's No. 1 contender instead of its champion. Helwani reports that Calgary is the frontrunner to host a UFC event on July 28. He last fought in a boxing match against Floyd Mayweather last summer.