At UFC 242 on Saturday night, Khabib Nurmagomedov submitted Dustin Poirier to retain his lightweight title. The win was Nurmagomedov’s 12th in a row in the UFC and immediately had fans discussing where Khabib ranks among the all-time greats of the sport. But there was one person who was not impressed with his performance: the man he will likely be facing next, Tony Ferguson.
Speaking with ESPN yesterday, Ferguson criticized Nurmagomedov’s performance at UFC 242.
“Lazy. One-dimensional,” Tony Ferguson said. “Nothing against him, both guys did awesome fight week. I know there was a lot of nerves and stuff. Khabib showed up, he obviously won. He put the pressure on Dustin and Dustin didn’t have an answer for it. Props to Khabib for winning but like I said, it’s lazy. We’ve prepared for this guy many times. He’s a good fighter but I know how to break that goat.”
When asked to clarify what he meant by lazy, Ferguson continued on saying that the way Khabib fights is uninteresting.
“Well, being my type of fighter and my type of guy, you know I throw a lot of barrage of punches, kicks, knees and elbows,” Ferguson said. “So when I see someone pushing against the cage and not really doing too much, being active and just kind of putting themselves like a wet blanket. In jiu-jitsu, we use that saying. He’s a wet blanket, just sitting there. It’s a lot of pressure. When I fought Danny Castillo he did the same thing. It’s interesting how Khabib fights but to me it’s just boring, it’s lazy.”
Nurmagomedov’s reliance on his wrestling has long been something detractors have held against him; however, in his previous two fights he has “smashed” his opponents and submitted both, even earning a Performance bonus against Poirier. But Ferguson says that was a result of Khabib taking on strikers. When he faces a grappler of his caliber, Ferguson says, Khabib will finally meet his match.
“You can’t just learn wrestling overnight:” said Ferguson. “In Dustin’s case, great fighter and everything but I’ve been doing this a lot longer than Dustin has as far as grappling and chain-wrestling and that kind of a thing. Not taking anything away from Dustin, Dustin went out there and did a hell of a job, same as Khabib, but my style’s a little bit different. Obviously it’s not always gonna work but right now for Khabib I believe my style is actually the one that could out-smart him and out-think him and out-move him, out-maneuver him and put him in places where he’s not familiar.”
Many do consider Ferguson to be the most difficult challenge for Nurmagomedov. A NCWA national champion in college, Ferguson is also a 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu black belt and is known for his funky, off-kilter grappling style that many believe could give Khabib trouble. Ferguson himself says he sees holes he can attack in Khabib’s game, but admits that by the time they fight, those holes may not be there.
“With him, I see a lot of holes in his game,” said Ferguson. “But he’s got a high-level team with him and obviously they know what they’re dealing with so they’re going to go to the drawing board and try to fix those holes. I think Dustin was in awe during fight week. I think it was probably just a culture shock. It was probably a lot for both fighters. With that being said, in the next fight, you’re probably going to have one of the best Khabibs you’ve ever seen. So they’re going to fix a lot of holes in his game.”
That is, if they ever fight. Nurmagomedov vs. Ferguson is the most snake-bitten fight in MMA history. The two have been scheduled to face each other on four separate occasions but have yet to finally lock horns. After UFC 242, Dana White said now is the time to try again but, given their history, any number of things could intervene. However, if this really is the time that the fight finally happens, Ferguson says he hopes it’s in December in Las Vegas.
“If I was in charge, we’d do this sh*t in December,” Ferguson said. “You know what, I’m calling it right now. We’re gonna do this sh*t in December. We’re gonna let Khabib go and eat his hamburgers with cheese and all the other bullsh*t - enjoy it, Fathead, don’t get too fat - you know I’m coming at you harder than Tiramisu Tuesday’s. It’s still there. It’s popping. I’ve got some new sh*t for you guys. I’m really excited.”
The is an MMA News Show.
UFC 242 Fan Q & A.
Looking at the long, complicated history of Tony vs. Khabib.
The Co-Main Event. Discussing just how good Khabib is, Bellator, and Gaethje-Cowboy.
Anik & Florian. Recapping UFC 242 and previewing Gaethje vs. Cowboy.
SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE
Didn't get the result I wanted Saturday. This is what happens sometimes when you're chasing greatness. I gave this my all. I'm down but not out— The Diamond (@DustinPoirier) September 9, 2019
Thank you for the kind messages and support. It means the world to me. This one really hurts. It's a hurt that im very familiar with... pic.twitter.com/z8QCWeABdY
Dagestan went wild for Khabib.
Doing all I can to make this fight. If I can and you win, I’ll put the belt around your waist at MSG - consider it done. Already shaping up to be one of the biggest and most electrifying fights in @ufc history. Can’t wait. @GamebredFighter @NateDiaz209 #respect #BMF #UFC244 ⚡️ https://t.co/nVTIeBtkgv— Dwayne Johnson (@TheRock) September 9, 2019
We might have ourselves a fight.
Buckle your seatbelt my friends, Big fiight announcement coming soon https://t.co/6cDNQ6XChL— Jon Bones Jones (@JonnyBones) September 9, 2019
Diego and Showtime may fight. Mike Perry from the rafters with the comment of the year.
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This is one of the reasons I love this sport, two warriors ready to do it. if the fans want it. Your only as good as your last performance and my last showing the volcano did not erupt! It is what it is circumstances vary and I did not pull the trigger and lost my opportunity! The lesson has been learned and I vow to leave it all in there come dec! @showtimepettis it would be a honor to stand across the octagon! Thank you for seeing the value in us competing #letsdoit
59 year old lady died on my flight home from Dubai. Life is so precious. Hug your loved ones— Dan Ige (@Dynamitedan808) September 9, 2019
Gonna start seeing some more of this I’d wager.
Anyone wanna fight me for the BMF bantamweight belt nov 2 at msg— Brian Kelleher (@brianboom135) September 10, 2019
If it ain’t Krispy Kreme, it ain’t me.
Get Hopkins 6 months of training and he’s coming for the middleweight title.
DeAndre Hopkins SUPLEXED Marcus Williams pic.twitter.com/EDE0a3PSoe— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) September 10, 2019
Jinh Yu Frey (8-4) vs. Ashley Cummings (7-4); Invicta FC 37, Oct. 4.
Honestly this was not the interview I expected from Tony. Not for one second do I believe Tony is scared of Khabib but he was surprisingly respectful of him following the Poirier win. Like he’s just now realizing for the first time that Khabib is a f*cking problem for anyone he faces. I dunno. Maybe I’m reading too much into it.
Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow.
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