Edson Barboza believes an interim title fight with Tony Ferguson would determine who the real lightweight champion is, as it is not Conor McGregor according to him.
McGregor won the belt by beating Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205 in November 2016, however, soon announced that he would be taking time off as he and his girlfriend await the birth of their first child.
Meanwhile, Ferguson was set to face Khabib Nurmagomedov for the interim lightweight title at UFC 209 in March until it was called off as the latter had trouble with the weight cut.
With "The Eagle" unlikely to fight until September, it leaves Ferguson, the number one contender in theory, in no man's land especially with the Irishman already training for his unconfirmed boxing fight with Floyd Mayweather later this year.
Barboza is currently the number five ranked lightweight in the division and is coming off yet another highlight reel finish over Beneil Dariush at UFC Fortaleza in March.
It marked the Brazilian's third win in a row since his submission loss to Ferguson in 2015, and he wants a rematch with "El Cucuy" after fighting him on short notice as a replacement for Nurmagomedov.
"I really hope the UFC gives me a chance to fight with Tony Ferguson, because he said he wants to fight, and I want to fight, too," Barboza said, as quoted on MMAJunkie. "I hope the UFC gives me this chance."
"So many guys talk about this fight. It's a rematch for me. I think this fight makes sense for us. It makes sense for me; it makes sense for him. I know he said he doesn't want to wait, and I'm here. I'm ready.
"You guys remember the last fight I had with him. It was a really good fight, one of the best of the year. Imagine, guys, five rounds, me and him, with a full camp."
Barboza also believes that if the rematch was for the interim title, the real lightweight champion would be determined despite McGregor still officially holding the strap.
"I think McGregor is not the real champ," Barboza said, as quoted on MMAJunkie. "He has the belt, but I have almost 20 fights in this division. Ferguson has more than 10 fights in this division. Khabib (Nurmagomedov) has almost 10 fights in this division. And I think the next champ is going to be the fight for the interim belt."