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Edson Barboza accepts UFC 219 fight vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov: 'It's on him now'


As UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor continues to plot his next move – be it a return to MMA or a boxing match with Paulie Malignaggi – things at the top of the division continue to fall into place.

Tony Ferguson won the interim title earlier this month after submitting Kevin Lee at UFC 216. Eddie Alvarez and Justin Gaethje, ranked Nos. 4 and 5, respectively, in the official UFC rankings, are set to square off Dec. 2 at UFC 218.

And now it appears another booking of top contenders could be close.

On Tuesday, Edson Barboza said during an Instagram Live stream that he’s accepted an offer from the UFC to fight Khabib Nurmagomedov on Dec. 30 at UFC 219 in Las Vegas. The onus, Barboza says, is now on “The Eagle.”

“They offered me this fight, and I accepted it,” Barboza said, via MMAFighting.com. “I said I’ll be ready for December 30th, and it’s on him now. We’ll see what he does. I saw an interview with him yesterday, and he said he’ll fight me if Conor fights Ferguson, and (UFC President) Dana (White) already said that fight will happen, so I believe my next fight will be against Khabib.”

Barboza (19-4 MMA, 13-4 UFC), now recovered from shoulder surgery, told MMAjunkie earlier this month that a fight with Nurmagomedov (24-0 MMA, 8-0 UFC) makes sense, all things considered. Barboza has won three straight, most recently scoring a flying-knee knockout of Beneil Dariush in March at UFC Fight Night 106. He’s been adamant in his belief that McGregor (21-3 MMA, 9-1 UFC) isn’t a real champion. McGregor, who lost an August boxing match to Floyd Mayweather via TKO, hasn’t defended his title since winning it from Alvarez last November at UFC 205.

Nurmagomedov said in September he expected to fight the Ferguson-Lee winner. Ferguson, naturally, prefers a title-unification bout with McGregor.

While Barboza said he’d also be content with a shot at Ferguson’s interim title, it appears he’s got his sights set on the undefeated Nurmagomedov and will be satisfied if the fight is made official.

“He’s definitely one of the best in the division,” Barboza told MMAjunkie. “I think this fight really makes sense for me. I’m ready. If the UFC books this fight, I’m ready.”

For more on UFC 219, visit the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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