The promotion is looking to book Nurmagomedov against Ferguson as the main event for a pay-per-view on April 18 inside Barclays Center in Brooklyn, UFC president Dana White told ESPN.
Nurmagomedov has signed his bout agreement to face Ferguson in April, according to his manager, Ali Abdelaziz. Sources told ESPN that Ferguson has not signed yet but is interested in making the bout, pending further negotiations.
If the bout does become official, it will mark the fifth time Nurmagomedov (28-0) and Ferguson (25-3) have been scheduled to meet, dating back to 2015. The matchup has been canceled every time for various reasons. Nurmagomedov withdrew in 2015 and 2017, due to injury and weight issues. Ferguson pulled out in 2016 and 2018 due to injuries.
"Fifth time is the charm," Abdelaziz told ESPN. "Tony has been asking for this ass-whipping for a long time, and he deserves it. He's earned it. Khabib wanted this fight, Tony wanted it, the UFC wanted it and the fans wanted it. This fight is for the fans."
Nurmagomedov, of Dagestan, has a 12-0 record in the UFC, including two title defenses. Ferguson, of Southern California, is on a 12-fight win streak in the UFC.
In an interview with ESPN earlier this year, Nurmagomedov said he believed a matchup against Ferguson was the "most important fight in UFC," regardless of weight class. The 31-year-old champion is coming off a third-round submission win over Dustin Poirier in September.
Ferguson, 35, is coming off a second-round TKO against Donald 'Cowboy' Cerrone at UFC 238 in June. A former interim titleholder, Ferguson was scheduled to face Nurmagomedov in April 2018, but suffered a serious knee injury after he tripped on a cable during a studio interview promoting the fight.
Nurmagomedov and Ferguson are the No. 1 and No. 6 pound-for-pound fighters in the world, according to ESPN.