Dana White has confirmed that an interim lightweight title fight between Tony Ferguson and Kevin Lee has been targeted for UFC 216 in October.
Following the sixth installment of his Tuesday Night Contender Series, the UFC president revealed to ESPN's Brett Okamoto that the two lightweight contenders would meet with the winner expected to face Conor McGregor when he returns to the octagon.
The lightweight division has been in limbo for nearly a year ever since McGregor won the lightweight title back at UFC 205 in November.
With the Irishman having since pursued a boxing match with Floyd Mayweather that will take place on 26 August, the division's top two contenders in Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov were initially set to battle for the interim title in March at UFC 209.
However, on the day of the weigh-ins, "The Eagle" pulled out due to a botched weight cut, which only set back the lightweight division further.
It was expected that Ferguson (22-3 record in MMA) would face Nurmagomedov when the latter was ready and recovered with many calling for a bout at Madison Square Garden in November. However, White added that he is still not ready to return within the next two to three months.
The Dagestani's setback is a boost for Lee, whose most recent win was a rear naked choke submission victory over Michael Chiesa at UFC Oklahoma back in June.
"The Motown Phenom" (16-2 record in MMA) has quietly been on a five-fight win streak and has repeatedly called for fights with the bigger names in order to test himself.
While he has targeted fighting in his hometown of Detroit for UFC 218 in December, it now looks like Lee would have to sacrifice fighting on home soil for a chance for some lightweight gold, unless he is able to finish off "El Cucuy" quickly and have a short lay-off.
The duo have already exchanged some hostile words with each other following Lee's win over Chiesa during an interview on FOX in what should ultimately be an exciting encounter between two fighters on a combined 14-fight win streak.