Khabib Nurmagomedov's father and coach Abdulmanap has been left dumbfounded by the UFC's plans for an interim lightweight title fight at UFC 216.
UFC president Dana White recently revealed that Tony Ferguson would face Kevin Lee for the belt on 7 October, with the winner expected to face Conor McGregor the lightweight title when he makes his return to the octagon.
Nurmagomedov, the number one contender, was expected to face the number two contender in Ferguson for the interim title at UFC 209 in March but had to pull out on the day of the weigh-ins due to a botched weight cut.
"The Eagle" was targeting a return in the next few months as he still wanted to face "El Cucuy" in what would be a fight between two contenders who are on a combined 17-fight winning streak in the UFC.
But with the news that Lee, ranked seven in the division, would face Ferguson instead, Abdulmanap senses foul play in action as he questioned White's decision despite the fact that the contenders above the "Mo Town Phenom" are either busy with other obligations or unlikely to take the fight such as Nate Diaz.
"This morning we learned that Kevin Lee will fight for the interim belt with Tony Ferguson," he wrote on his social media page in Russian, as quoted by RT. "Second number (fights) with number seven, and this is (coming) from Dana White!"
"Why not the number one with the third or the fourth one, fifth or the sixth? That is because that is the way (they) want it and it's interesting, but (it's) very doubtful dear fans from all around the world.
"Now about the dates October (7) to November 4 (it's) less than a month, it obviously doesn't work (for them). (They) can wait for half a year but here less than a month (they) can't, amazing but (that's) a fact. We all witnessed how (Eddie) Alvarez with (just) two controversial victories fought for the belt."
Another fighter who wanted to compete for the interim title was number four contender Edson Barboza who now looks likely to be the Dagestan native's next opponent.
"Now let's compare Khabib-Barboza fight, is it possible? (It's) intriguing yes," Abdulmanap added. "But the test that we go through no one else does. This makes us stronger and more responsible for you our dear fans."
"Wherever we would be, in this country or abroad, we never forget about the training for the fight. There are fans who would want to see Khabib three times a year, but I think that two is enough. Once a year is too little, I agree.
"Time is the best judge of all the things that happen we hope for the Almighty. Sincerely yours, A. Nurmagomedov."