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Morning Report: Tony Ferguson says Al Iaquinta ‘exposed’ Khabib Nurmagomedov, hopes to return by September

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Tony Ferguson
Tony Ferguson
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

A week before UFC 223, it looked like the MMA world was finally going to get the Khabib Nurmagomedov-Tony Ferguson fight that had fallen through numerous times before. Then, just days before the event, Ferguson tore the LCL in his left knee in a freak accident during media obligations, removing him from the card and side-tracking the Nurmagomedov fight yet again.

In Ferguson’s place, Al Iaquinta stepped up to challenge Nurmagomedov for the vacant lightweight title, losing a lopsided decision over the course of five rounds. But even though Iaquinta was dominated, Ferguson says the fight still proved what he’s been saying all along, that Nurmagomedov isn’t that good.

“I was not impressed by Khabib’s performance,” Ferguson told Helen Yee at the UFC Hall of Fame ceremony yesterday. “Obviously his conditioning was in check a little bit. Al Iaquinta, he did what he had to do and he was an Ultimate Fighter, he went all five rounds. It was exactly what I expected was gonna happen. [Khabib] got exposed, it’s what I knew.”

Not including UFC 223, Ferguson and Nurmagomedov have been scheduled to face each other on three other occasions, with the fight falling through each time for various reasons. The match-up is seemingly cursed to never actually happen, as Nurmagomedov is seemingly on a direct collision course with former lightweight champion Conor McGregor next. That fight faces its own issues though as McGregor is currently embroiled in some legal trouble and is a Notoriously hard negotiator with the UFC, and Ferguson is hoping he can slip back in the picture and un-snakebite this fight.

“Don’t know, haven’t heard s**t,” Ferguson said about a fight with Nurmagomedov potentially being re-booked. “What I know is I’ve been keeping my nose clean, making sure that my leg is healing right. As far as how the fights are gonna go, the fans want to see myself and Khabib. That’s what they really want to see. Conor’s got his s**t going on - slap on the wrist, whatever, that’s not my business - so if the s**t happens and they want to go with Khabib, let’s do this. Let’s have some fun with it.”

Nurmagomedov is coming off observing the holy month of Ramadan and has said he is looking to return either in September or October for his first title defense. That timeline matches up with Ferguson’s own plans who, despite having had surgery to repair his torn LCL only three months ago, says he is hoping to get back into the cage in September.

“I’m about 90 percent right now,” Ferguson said. “Obviously, I want to get back in there. September looks good for me.”

But if things don’t go Ferguson’s way, and the UFC does end up making the superfight between Nurmagomedov and McGregor, who does he thinks would win? The former interim champ doesn’t care.

“I hope they both get knocked out.”


Results. Ray Cooper beat Jake Shields and the rest of the PFL 3 results.

Hall of Fame. Ronda Rousey was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame.

MMA Gods. Daniel Cormier has scary fall after UFC 226 press conference.

Face off. Chuck Liddell, Tito Ortiz face off on UFC Hall of Fame red carpet.

Rodney Dangerfield. Daniel Cormier feels ‘disrespected’ by UFC 226 betting odds.

Dang. Dana White: Max Holloway diagnosis unclear, ‘no way’ he fights anytime soon.


Hall of Fame highlights.

Dana interview.

A good question.

Daniel is great.


Nick Diaz says he’s fighting next year.


Three Amigos. Previewing UFC 226 and talking to George Lockhart about Max’s medical issues.

Submission Radio. Previewing UFC 226 with Dan Hardy and Tommy Toe Hold.

Middle Easy Fist Fight. Previewing UFC 226 and jinxing the whole thing.


Max is almost universally respected.

Hinting she might come back one day?

Never say “Never”

A post shared by rondarousey (@rondarousey) on

I love everything about this.

A little fall isn’t gonna stop him.


Willing to step up.


Campbell making the case for Combate.

Matt Serra goes viral and gets inducted into the Hall of Fame, but this dude calls him irrelevant.

Having himself a time.

The more you know.

Good lord.


Henrique Da Silva (14-4) vs. Johnny Walker (13-3); Contender Series Brazil.

Marcio Alexandre Jr. (15-4) vs. Leoardo Silva (12-2); Contender Series Brazil.

Alexander Gustafsson (18-4) vs. Volkan Oezdemir (15-1); UFC 227, Aug. 4.


2013: Chris Weidman knocked out Anderson Silva to claim the UFC middleweight championship.

2014: Some people might want to talk about Frankie Edgar allegedly beating the tar out of B.J. Penn in their trilogy fight at the TUF 19 Finale, but we think it’s better to just pretend that fight (and the last four years of B.J.’s career) didn’t happen.


Here’s what I propose: book Conor vs. Khabib for October (not making this fight happen right now would be insane. It’s the biggest fight in UFC history) and have Tony booked on the card also against literally anybody but with the total understanding, of all parties, that if something happens and either Conor or Khabib pull out, Tony steps in to face whoever is left.

Also, here’s your reminder that Tony Ferguson is almost 35 years old and coming off a full tear of his LCL and competes in the best division in MMA.

Enjoy the stacked weekend of fights, everyone. Thanks for reading and see y’all Monday.



Who walks away the heavyweight champion tomorrow night?

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