Khabib Nurmagomedov has been booked against Tony Ferguson five times in the past, but it doesn’t look like he is expecting a sixth chance.
As the reigning UFC lightweight champion prepares for a title unification fight against Justin Gaethje on October 24, questions about a potential showdown with Ferguson are still important given the long history they have. share.
Ferguson was scheduled to face Nurmagomedov at UFC 249 in May. But Nurmagomedov was unable to travel from his native Russia to the United States, which effectively prevented the fight from happening. Ferguson eventually faced Gaethje and lost by TKO in the fifth round, a brutal defeat that marked his first defeat in 13 straight fights.
“Honestly, I feel a little bad, and at the same time I understand,” Nurmagomedov said of Ferguson’s fight with Gaethje when speaking to ESPN. “I sent a message to [my manager] More [Abdelaziz] and told him just before the fight, Tony Ferguson [had] left leg surgery, right? Yes [Gaethje] he women, [in] the start of the fight, a few good kicks, the fight is over.
When [the] fight [began], Tony Ferguson begins to fight southpaw, but Tony is not a southpaw. OK, the first round is over, and after Ferguson gets a little nervous because his plan doesn’t work. Second round, does not work. End of the turn he gives [Gaethje] a good shot, uppercut. Third round, after the third round, it was over. It was over for me.
According to the undefeated Russian, he’s seen Ferguson take too much damage over the years, and it ends up catching up with everyone.
“No one can be the same for a long time,” Nurmagomedov explained. “Not Tony Ferguson, not Khabib, nobody. Someday someone will beat you up, or something will happen. God gives no one power, reaction, mind, everything on one level always. Someday it’s going to go down, and his day came in May. I understand, Tony Ferguson’s time is up.
“Now he’s going to come back, someone’s going to beat him again, I think. Because when you take such damage, you will never be the same again. Never again. Even if you are Tony Ferguson. He takes too much damage. See how he typed, how he gave up at the end of the five rounds?
Prior to the fight with Gaethje in May, Ferguson underwent two separate weight cuts based on the original date of the event, April 18, as well as prior to the May 9 card. There was speculation that perhaps the unnecessary weight reduction affected Ferguson’s physical condition leading to the fight with Gaethje. For his part, Nurmagomedov simply did not understand the logic.
“Stupid,” Nurmagomedov said of the double weight reduction. “Remember I told you I love Tony Ferguson but he’s a stupid guy. That’s what I think.
“He keeps talking about me. Why are you talking about me? Justin Gaethje crushes you all over the place, why do you keep talking about me? Do you want to promote yourself? OK, I agree with you, but if you really want to keep talking about me and it’s something special or it puts you in a good position, it shows your mind. It shows your weakness. ”
As for the game against Ferguson for the sixth time, Nurmagomedov doesn’t see this happening anytime soon, but then again, he sees a path to a title for his longtime rival.
Nurmagomedov suggested Ferguson get into a short-notice fight against his friend and teammate Islam Makhachev, who was also due to compete in UFC 254 until his opponent Rafael dos Anjos was kicked off the map after being tested positive for COVID-19.
“Maybe if he comes back, but I don’t think that’s possible,” Nurmagomedov said. “He can come [to] Fight the island and fight with Islam Makhachev. He has six [fight] winning streak. He is almost in the top 10. He has a name. Why not? Why he doesn’t want to fight. The UFC is going to give him a lot of money.
“Ali Abdelaziz will give him 100,000 dollars plus 100,000 dollars [to fight Islam]. Very good chance to fight with Islam Makhachev, maybe he can fight for the title if he wins, but I think his time is over.
The UFC announced on Wednesday that Makhachev would not participate on October 24. Ferguson has also made it clear that he will not face Nurmagomedov’s training partner in response to the Russian manager on Twitter.