UFC/MMA News Roundup (7/11/2018): Khabib ranks his potential opponents, DC gets a new challenger at LHW
Khabib Nurmagomedov wants the winner of the Eddie Alvarez vs Dustin Poirier fight that is set to headline UFC Calgary as his next opponent if the UFC cannot finalize a deal with either Conor McGregor or Georges St-Pierre. He also said he is open to facing Tony Ferguson next should the American heal up from his injuries and be ready to take a fight by the end of the year.
Brian Ortega's Featherweight Championship bout against Champion Max Holloway was pulled from the UFC 226 card due to concussion-related symptoms that Holloway suffered. However, Orgeta revealed that he still hadn't been compensated by the UFC for showing up to fight with his weight on point. He did, however, mention that Dana White promised that they would 'figure things out' in the coming days.
UFC Middleweight Yoel Romero, who's reportedly planning a step up to Light Heavyweight, called out LHW king Daniel Cormier for a showdown at UFC 230. Romero is coming off a razor-thin loss to MW Champion Robert Whittaker at UFC 225, where he was ineligible to win the Title anyway as he didn't make championship weight.
Daniel Cormier then shot back at Romero saying that 'you don't fail a class and then get moved up a grade to the next one', probably indicating his unwillingness to face him. Cormier has long maintained that he will be done with fighting in March of 2019.
Former UFC Bantamweight Champion Dominick Cruz confessed that it was his unwillingness to go into surgery following an arm fracture that has resulted in his latest spell on the sidelines. Cruz hasn't been seen in the Octagon since losing the Bantamweight Title to Cody Garbrandt at UFC 207, and was even pulled from a UFC 219 fight against fellow contender Jimmie Rivera. Cruz revealed on Luke Thomas' MMA Hour show that he had followed erroneous advice from a doctor, hoping that his arm would heal without surgery, but only realised almost four months on that it wasn't making any progress and that surgery was the only option.
Early estimates for UFC 226 suggest that the pay-per-view only did around 400,000 buys, which is a deeply disappointing figure considering how Daniel Cormier vs Stipe Miocic was billed as a legitimate superfight. It is considered that the Holloway vs Ortega fight dropping out could have contributed to the lack of interest, but still doesn't explain away the slump the UFC seems to be on in terms of pay-per-view events. Even UFC 225 reportedly did around 250,000 buys only.