Tony Ferguson-Kevin Lee interim title bout likely for UFC 216

LAS VEGAS -- The UFC plans to crown an interim lightweight champion in October, according to president Dana White.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, White said he intends to book an interim 155-pound title fight between Tony Ferguson and Kevin Lee, most likely at UFC 216 on Oct. 7 in Las Vegas.

"Yeah, that's for sure," said White, on the matchup.

The bout is not quite official, and White even hesitated on the Oct. 7 date, saying, "Off the top of my head, I don't remember where it is." He made it clear, however, the two fighters would be paired.

Ferguson (22-3) had been linked to a proposed fight with Khabib Nurmagomedov (24-0) all year, but that is now apparently on hold. The two were scheduled to fight in March, but it fell through when Nurmagomedov was hospitalized during his weight cut.

"Khabib is not ready," White said. "He had surgery and he's just not ready. It is what it is."

Ferguson, who trains out of Southern California, is on a nine-fight win streak. He has not fought yet in 2017.

Lee (16-2) is riding a five-fight win streak. Fighting out of Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas, the 24-year-old is coming off a first-round submission win over Michael Chiesa in June.

The winner of the interim title bout figures to be an obvious candidate to face current champion Conor McGregor (21-3), who is scheduled to face Floyd Mayweather in a boxing ring next week.