Things are heating up between the two highest-ranked lightweight contenders in the world.
Yesterday, Tony Ferguson let the world know he was interested in coaching opposite Khabib Nurmagomedov on The Ultimate Fighter and then fighting him for an interim lightweight championship while Conor McGregor took an extended hiatus. Well apparently Nurmagomedov heard him because he took to social media to call out Ferguson as a "chicken."
Not one to take anything lying down, Ferguson responded by saying that Nurmagomedov didn't want a fight with him this upcoming January and then posting pictures of himself with both Nurmagomedov and McGregor, saying both were deserving of an "ass whoopin'."
Nurmagomedov has previously gone on record saying a fight before March would be a quick turnaround from fighting in mid November, especially for a "high level" fighter like Ferguson. This may also be compounded by an increasing number of obligations outside of the cage. For instance, yesterday Nurmagomedov attended a Q & A and seminar in Kazakhstan that was was so beyond capacity, fans waited outside in near freezing temperatures just to show their support.
Still though, Nurmagomedov took the time to remind Ferguson that the last time they were scheduled to fight, it was Ferguson who pulled out before calling Ferguson a "fanboy."
I was ready in April main event on fox and you pulled out. https://t.co/Evkj9B1oWQ— khabib nurmagomedov (@TeamKhabib) December 13, 2016
Next time you see me don't ask me for picture like fan boy. When you ask me for picture you will get slap in your face https://t.co/Evkj9B1oWQ— khabib nurmagomedov (@TeamKhabib) December 13, 2016
The back and forth on social media ended there but Ferguson later spoke with Fox Sports, taking aim at Nurmagomedov's "padded" record and attacking his overall MMA game.
"I'll take his 24-0 record - it's [expletive] padded dude. Look at some of the legit fights he's had and then look at mine. I'll take my record over his any day. His record is so padded. He's a paper champ. Get out of here.
"Khabib's got sambo not wrestling. My wrestling is far superior to his... Forcing somebody to shoot, that puts him into snap down city territory. For me unless you know the detour route to that place, you're not going to survive.
"Khabib doesn't have hands. I'm going to out box this dude. I'm going to be too slick for him. He's flat footed. I'm going to take this dude apart."
With all this back and forth, at this point it seems a dead certainty these two will have to settle their rivalry in the octagon. When it does finally happen, be it for an interim title or not, it sets up the winner for Conor McGregor's first career title defense and all the "red panty nights" that go with that.
There's Waldo. Jose Aldo says he's fighting Max Holloway at UFC 208.
Hang 'em up. Duane Ludwig says now is a good time for Urijah Faber to retire.
Refusal. Cole Miller says the UFC refused to meet with him after UFC Manila was cancelled.
Red. Paige VanZant denies Michelle Waterson's claims that she is "very green."
Doc said I can't kick. Didn't say anything about grappling...— Luke Rockhold (@LukeRockhold) December 12, 2016
As someone who doesn't cut a lot of weight at 185 I'm a big believer in skill over size. You can't drive a Lamborghini on a dead battery— Zebrinha MMA (@EricSpicely) December 11, 2016
Change your life bread pic.twitter.com/vbyS4rGyjC— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) December 13, 2016
—————— I found myself thinking about all the times I trained to fight. How many times have I packed my suitcase with all the equipment. Whenever I went out for a fight I never thought about losing or winning, I always put it in my mind that I had to do what I believed, which gave me pleasure and love. Of course for me, when I'm in there, fighting, I see life or death. Every time I trained, every time I had to stay away from my family, I injured myself, I went on a diet, always training with pain, surpassing myself, giving each day my blood and my sweat. Every time I say goodbye to my family to go to a fight, I always put first what really made and makes sense to this day in my life. If it's the last fight, whatever, to the end giving my best, until the last second I'll put everything into practice, exactly everything I've learned, everything I've trained my whole life as if it were the first fight. Always with love and with my truth. Fighting is a hard game, sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, but my whole life has always been fighting. Sometimes I trained with pain, sometimes with joy, but what makes me happy is to remember every moment, every pain, every dislocation, every section of physical therapy, every day of physical preparation, every look of my children's tendencies, farewells Of my wife, with a smile because I'm happy, but with a tight heart asking always for God to protect me in this game of life that I decided to play. I learned that sometimes I had to accept the result, because in all of them until today I never stopped learning to be who I really am. Thank you all and especially my Family
Sinead Kavanagh (3-0) vs. Elina Kallionidou (5-0); Bellator 169.
TODAY IN MMA HISTORY
2014: Stipe Miocic suffered his last defeat, losing a unanimous decision to Juniod dos Santos at UFC on Fox 13. This event also saw Joanna Jedrzejczyk defeat Claudia Gadelha to earn her shot at the UFC strawweight championship.
That fight is going to be boss. Only downside is I'd like to see Conor fight both men instead of letting contenders pick each other off.
Have a good one and see y'all tomorrow.
If you find something you'd like to see in the Morning Report, just hit me up on Twitter @JedKMeshew and let me know about it. Also follow MMAFighting on Instagram and add us on Snapchat at MMA-Fighting because we post dope things and you should enjoy them.