Hopefully, the fifth time is the charm.
On Friday, Tony Ferguson inked his bout agreement to face Khabib Nurmagomedov in a lightweight title fight scheduled for a UFC pay-per-view event on April 18 from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Nurmagomedov had already signed his contract earlier this week.
Multiple sources confirmed the fight as signed, sealed, and delivered when speaking to MMA Fighting on Friday following an initial report from ESPN. Terms of the deal were not disclosed but Ferguson and his management team from Ballengee Group flew to Las Vegas to meet with the UFC to hammer out the details before pen was put to paper.
The title fight was already targeted for that date but Ferguson’s side hadn’t been completed just yet. Now that he’s signed, the title fight can move forward as scheduled as Ferguson looks to hand Nurmagomedov the first defeat of his professional career.
The two top-ranked lightweights have been scheduled to meet four times previously dating all the way back to 2015.
The first fight was scrapped after Nurmagomedov suffered an injury in training. The matchup was then rescheduled four months later but this time it was Ferguson who was forced to withdraw due to a lung issue.
Nurmagomedov and Ferguson were paired up yet again at UFC 209 in 2017, but the undefeated Russian suffered through a brutal weight cut, which forced him to go to the hospital and that once again kept the fight from happening. Finally in 2018, the fight was scheduled for the fourth time only to see Ferguson suffer a bizarre knee injury after he tripped over a television cable while promoting the UFC 223 event where he was supposed to face Nurmagomedov to crown a new lightweight champion.
Now more than four years after they were initially expected to meet, Nurmagomedov will face Ferguson with the lightweight title on the line in the main event on April 18. While the event hasn’t been named yet, it’s currently expected that the card will be UFC 249, although the promotion has not finalized that.