Ferguson is out of the equation and loses his interim lightweight belt, a crushing blow for a man riding a 10-fight win streak.
With the fight between Nurmagomedov and Holloway a done deal, the main event of UFC 223 is no longer in jeopardy. While he considers Nurmagomedov an "animal", Holloway sees the Russian as just another fighter.
Max Holloway will attempt to become a two-division UFC champion when he steps in for injured Tony Ferguson at UFC 223 in Brooklyn on Saturday. Fightful is providing live coverage of the event, with a post-show podcast to follow. "I'm here, six days" notice - April 7 is going to be a great night". I've got business to handle at 145. "I think Conor could return in September and it could be against one of these (Holloway or Nurmagomedov) guys". "Hope, this lesson will teach you watch your mouth". You hear all these stories about him and I can't wait.
"I scared about this when I think about this", Nurmagomedov said. "Max Holloway, I've heard him in interview say, 'I don't care about the belt, I care about check.' I think UFC tell him we are going to give you good money and you have to come here and he said of course".
'And Conor is not the guy I want to throw in as a late replacement fighter. I don't fight for the money.
Conor McGregor is yet to defend a belt in the UFC and last fought in the octagon in 2016. When asked if he would be willing to book the fight a fifth time, White responded, "Hell no". "I need to fight for title". "He is already middleweight and welterweight champion".
The Irishman would eventually take time off before putting his UFC career on hold to fight Floyd Mayweather in a cross-code boxing match in August a year ago.