Yesterday there were reports originating from a Russian media outlet saying that the long-awaited fight between the two top lightweight contenders Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson was officially headlining UFC 209 and would be confirmed by the UFC in a few days. Shortly afterwards, MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani confirmed that those reports were false, taking away a wonderful Christmas/Hanukkah present for the MMA community. But though that fight isn’t official yet, that doesn’t mean it won’t be soon.
In a recent interview with RT Sport, Nurmagomedov explained why he believes he needs to fight Ferguson next and why he thinks it’s such a compelling fight.
“The UFC asked me about this fight — March 4, UFC 209 — and I said yes, I want to fight this, I want to take this fight. I want to fight with Tony and we — everybody, my team — are waiting for his answer.
“I think this is a real high-level fight in the lightweight division right now. Nine-win streak in UFC versus eight-win streak, I think UFC before never made this kind of fight because nine win streak versus eight-win streak, this has never happened before. I think this is a very big fight. Everybody wants to watch this fight and I want to take this fight.”
Nurmagomedov-Ferguson is a troublesome fight. Should it eventually come to pass, this will be the third attempt to match these two fighters up. Previously both men have pulled out of scheduled bouts against the other due to injury. And before this one even gets officially booked there’s been a great deal of controversy surrounding it.
Ferguson has been calling out Nurmagomedov all year but two weeks ago, Ferguson refused the bout citing inequitable compensation. Then last week, UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo says he was offered an interim title fight against Nurmagomedov but claimed the Dagestani lightweight turned the bout down. Nurmagomedov responded saying he wants to fight Ferguson, not “bully the little,” which prompted to Ferguson to respond appreciatively saying, “real recognize real.”
It was an interesting change of pace from two guys who have been jawing at each other for over a year. And though there recent interactions who an underlying respect between the two, that doesn’t mean the fight won’t be a little bit personal.
“I think he’s a tough fight, good fighter,” said Nurmagomedov. “Little bit talk too much, that’s why I want to break his face. I like this fight.”
UFC 209 will be held on March 4th in Las Vegas, Nevada.
AKA, sadness. The NAC pulled Cain Velasquez from his scheduled bout with Fabricio Werdum due to health concerns.
No fear. Fabricio Werdum is willing to fight any short notice opponent at UFC 207 on Friday.
Trash talk. Tony Ferguson claims Conor McGregor ‘doesn’t want any part’ of him.
MEXICO! Bjorn Rebney explains his infamous “MEXICO!!” tweet.
Bully. Dillon Danis wants to make his UFC debut against Sage Northcutt.
Fight Life. Anton Tabuena of Bloody Elbow detailed his first professional Muay Thai fight and it’s worth a read.
Fun video from over the weekend of Chael bodying Tito.
Conor is a man of the people.
And Dana saying Conor can buy equity in the UFC.
Spreading good cheer.
Kind of late for a Christmas gift...
Merry Christmas to everyone, I'll deliver my present to you all this Friday!! #AndNew— Cody Garbrandt (@Cody_Nolove) December 25, 2016
What a gem.
And yet, they didn’t let him fight.
I smell malarkey. If Cain is "unfit to fight" then the whole ufc roster is unfit to fight. I trained with him yesterday. #ufc207— Todd Duffee (@ToddDuffee) December 25, 2016
Neither JDS nor Struve really want to fight each other. JDS should get it.
Cowboy always knows a guy.
Hey @Cowboycerrone, you stepping in for Cain to fight Werdum?— Michael Chiesa (@MikeMav22) December 25, 2016
I am going to break his face pic.twitter.com/sI5jxpVGQN— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) December 24, 2016
And an even more ridiculous tweet.
Cracked Nate up.
TODAY IN MMA HISTORY
2007: Yuka Tsuji successfully defended her Smackgirl lightweight championship at Smackgirl: Starting Over, winning a unanimous decision over Seo Hee Ham.
I hope everyone had an excellent weekend and an excellent holiday if you celebrate anything this time of year. Short fight week this weekend so enjoy it, the year is finally coming to a close.