How many times has this fight been canceled, four times? I’m not sure, I lost count and lost hope a long time ago.
This is a fight that I personally, have been waiting so see since 2016. I know that is the same for many others and that at least casual fight fans have been dying to see this matchup since 2018.
NUrmagomedov-Ferguson has been set up and canceled so many times that Dana White said back in 2018 that he’d ‘never’ book them to again. Well, once again, Dana White is proving to be a big, fat, liar … because here we are again!
Tony Ferguson is on a 12-fight win streak but will be in the most trusted betting sites as an underdog. Khabib is still undefeated in the UFC and although he has many fans, probably more people – at this point– want to see him lose.
Khabib and his camp have earned a reputation for being bullies. The end of the McGregor fight is a good example – not that McGregor hasn’t been a bully himself. But it goes beyond that. Tony Ferguson says that he owes Khabib a couple of shots to the gut for him and his camp of lackeys surrounding Ferguson’s family at a hotel.
“We’re checking into the hotel right, him and his team, a bunch of little goons or whatever, and we’re checking in, my wife and I. I looked and there were three of four of his teammates circling us. Later on my team and I … we had another run-in with them. These dudes are just a bunch of f****** bullies.” – Tony Ferguson
Ferguson went on to talk about a couple other times that members of Khabib’s team had been disrespectful in a recent interview and then followed with, “Seriously, I owe this dude a couple of shots to the stomach. I’m gonna slam him from his feet to his back. And in sambo that’s a big diss. No disrespect to Khabib, I’m gonna slam his ass. I’m gonna pick him up and show him what grappling’s all about. The dude doesn’t like to get hit, it’s a battle of wills.”
UFC 249 is still months away, with a loose scheduling for April 18th. But that hasn’t stopped Khabib from starting the intimidation game early. But that won’t work with Ferguson. You simply are not going to get into his head. He isn’t a guy that is intimidated or put-off regarding a fight. He isn’t afraid of getting hit and he’s not going to mentally break before or during the fight. Nobody as of yet has found an answer to Khabibs’ unique sambo infused fighting style, but Ferguson is like a human who is made out of steel. He doesn’t quite; he has one direction: forward and he’s landing stiff punches or slamming you to the matt the entire time.
Khabib has won all of his fights by physically dominating his opponents and mentally breaking them by imposing his will and not letting the other fighter accomplish what they want. That’s not going to work with Tony. Yes, he may impose some of his will on Tony, but that isn’t going to throw El Cucuy off his game plan. And unlike Connor McGregor, who is much more one-dimensional, Ferguson is not only an elite striker who can and will throw punches and kicks at high volume all fight long, he is a NoGi BJJ black belt under Eddie Bravo. He’ll be more than happy to go to the ground and play the grappling game with Khabib.
According to Tony, he’s already beaten Khabib. He said he showed up to UFC 209 and looked into his eyes and saw ‘quit’. He also says that Nurmagomedov is going to be training so hard and be so nervous that he’ll make mistakes, he going to catch Khabib in the scramble and make him pay for it. He stated in another interview that he’s already told everyone that he’s going to make the Russian piss blood.
I just hope that we get to see this fight go down. Regardless, Khabib is a top competitor, a two-time world Sambo champ and the current undefeated UFC lightweight champ. Let’s just hope we don’t see a cancellation for the fifth time.