KHABIB NURMAGOMEDOV'S manager insisted it would be unfair for Conor McGregor to earn a lightweight title shot by facing Dustin Poirier at welterweight.
McGregor is close to finalising his return to the UFC on January 23, having accepted a rematch against Poirier, who he beat at featherweight in 2014.
But his head coach John Kavanagh appeared to suggest the headliner, between No2 ranked lightweight Poirier and former champion McGregor, will be at welterweight.
Nurmagomedov's manager Ali Abdelaziz blasted that it would be unfair for the winner to then challenge for the lightweight belt.
He tweeted: "To be #1 contender in 155 you have to make weight and not fight at 170.
"It’s not fair for other guys like Tony , Hooker , Makhachev , Beneil , they always make weight If Dustin VS Conor will be at 170 I can guarantee you it won’t be #1 contender match.
"Somebody will get a shot."
Nurmagomedov, 32, makes the next defence of his at UFC 254 on Fight Island, in a unification against interim champion Gaethje, 31.
But it is not yet clear who the winner of next weekend's bout will be made to face.
McGregor, 32, has not fought at lightweight since losing against unbeaten Khabib in 2018.
He last fought in January, knocking out 37-year-old Donald Cerrone in 40 seconds at welterweight.
And it looks as though the Irishman will remain at 170lb for the foreseeable future.
Kavanagh wrote on Twitter: "Watching @TheNotoriousMMA do MMA rounds lately has been a real joy and education.
"Fluidity of movement with elite level timing and skill.
"Dustin has improved so much since first meeting, conor has improved much more imo. To see them hydrated & healthy at 170 will be fascinating
"Enjoy your Christmas Dustin, lash that cranberry sauce on the turkey. See you hydrated, glycogen loaded and healthy at 170 in January.
"Stick to your guns young man, let's do something special. Also work on that pull tendency, I'm sure you know what I mean."
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