And while Khabib took to social media to call out the Irish fighter after news that he was no longer going to face Ferguson, Dana White has explained why McGregor will not be on the card at UFC223.
"I think he wants to do what the other champion didn't and make a statement, make a point that way", Holloway's manager, Brian Butler-Au said to The MMA Hour.
Many have already commended Max for taking the fight but against a grappler of Khabib's strength and size, a win for him would perhaps be one of the greatest upsets in the history of the sport. While there's no legitimate way to knock on UFC 223's new Nurmagomedov vs. Holloway headliner, it's safe to say the promotion had a solid backup plan in place in the event that Holloway wasn't able to step up.
"Hell no. I'm never making that fight again, ever", UFC president Dana White told ESPN's Brett Okamoto when asked if he'd ever consider booking a matchup between the two competitors again. The fight between these two had been scheduled three times before this meeting, but ultimately fell through for various reasons. As each day passed before that, the excitement continued to grow as it felt like the fight could finally become a reality, especially since their previous encounter fell through one day before their highly anticipated clash at UFC 209. "I think about maybe [Dustin] Poirier, [Eddie] Alvarez, maybe [Michael] Chiesa or [Paul] Felder or [Al] Iaquinta or [Anthony] Pettis, because these guys fight with me on same night".
However, featherweight champion Max Holloway has agreed to replace Ferguson at short notice for the headline fight.
"For me, I [would] never take this fight".
"I don't think Conor McGregor could make the weight on six days" notice. But now, he is on different territory, different weight class, different animals.
"I do not understand", Nurmagomedov said. He last fought in a boxing match against Floyd Mayweather last summer.