clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Morning Report: Ben Askren has a plan on how to save Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Tony Ferguson

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Ben Askren
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

For a couple of weeks now, the biggest concern in MMA has been about the fate of UFC 249, specifically the lightweight title fight between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson, amid the rapid spread of the coronavirus. The global pandemic has already resulted in the cancellation of multiple UFC events and most sporting organizations for the foreseeable future and just recently caused the New York Commission to officially waive off hosting the event, leaving the UFC looking for a suitable alternative location. But despite the numerous setbacks, UFC President Dana White insists that the show will go on and one of White’s biggest former detractors has some ideas on how to make that happen.

Ben Askren—who for years had a tumultuous relationship with White only to make amends when Askren finally joined the UFC—is fully in support of White’s determination to make the lightweight title fight happen, and “Funky” has some ideas on how to go about that.

“The one thing I said last night was, let’s not get greedy, Dana, let’s make this really simple,” Askren told Submission Radio recently. “All we need is Tony and Khabib, we don’t need an f’ing undercard. So, in America they’re doing 10 people maximum, you can’t have more than 10 people in a group. So, you’ve got Tony, Khabib, three judges. But, you could also have the judges be remote. So, you don’t actually have to have them there. Your referee, you have Dana, you have Bruce Buffer and you have Joe Rogan maybe. Maybe we take the judges out and make the judges remote at a remote location and we give them each two coaches or something, or one coach. I think there’s a way to do it to keep it under ten people and broadcast it.”

“It’s awesome. Please, please don’t cancel it.”

Khabib vs. Ferguson wouldn’t just be awesome, it would be unprecedented. Nurmagomedov is 28-0 in his MMA career and 12-0 in the UFC. Ferguson is 25-3 and currently on a 12-fight winning streak in the lightweight division. They are the two unquestioned top fighters in the division and a battle like this one has never happened before, and seems unlikely to ever happen again. It’s a bout that literally everyone in MMA wants to see, even other lightweight contenders and, as Askren explains, it’s not just an unprecedented event, it’s a tremendous matchup.

“I think it’s fascinating, that’s why it’s so exciting,” Askren said. “It’s two guys who are really good at what they do, and if you were to design a fighter to beat the other person, that’s what you would design them to do, and so I think it’s gonna be really, really fascinating.”

“Khabib’s obviously gonna get takedowns, and he’s been so dominant with ground and pound, but at the same time, Tony is so active off his back and he’s good with the elbows and he’s got a lot of tricky stuff. I think it’s gonna be totally fascinating, I’m excited to see what happens.”

“Tony’s a great fit, because he’s not gonna stay put on bottom. Tony can take a lot of damage, which, you know, Khabib will dish it out. Tony doesn’t get tired. and then Tony’s a high volume striker, he’s not a power puncher, which I don’t think is the right mix to beat Khabib, because I think you have to kind of fight him hard, stuff a few takedowns and volume strike him, and I think that’s how you’re gonna beat him, and that’s what Tony does. So, there’s a possibility.”

If Dana White listens to Askren, maybe we’ll all get to see it.


An idiot. Sam Alvey believes there has been a ‘huge overreaction’ to the coronavirus outbreak.

Yes. Dana White vows UFC 249 will happen as scheduled: ‘Do you want to bet against me?

Mad. Leon Edwards to Tyron Woodley: ‘Stop being a b*tch and let’s get the fight done.

Terrible. Former Shooto Brazil champion Glyan Alves shot to death in Brazil.

COVID-19. Shooto Brazil, Jungle Fight postpone events due to coronavirus pandemic.

Billionaire. BRAVE CF won’t pay fighters for events postponed during coronavirus pandemic.


MMA News Update.

Free fight.

Weili Zhang’s journey to the title.

Top-10 Achilles heels in MMA.

Khabib vs. Tony in international waters.


UFC Unfiltered. Interviews with Daniel Cormier and Leon Edwards.

Way After the Bell. Rewatching UFC 3: The American Dream.


Dana going full send with the memes.

It’s a damn shame is what it is.

Respectful as hell.

Gilbert is mad.

Sean O’Malley leaning into being the stoner Tony Ferguson.

View this post on Instagram

Active recovery sesh was lit

A post shared by Sugar Sean O'Malley (@sugaseanmma) on

16-year-old Andy Ruiz sparring with Andrei Arlovski.

Be like Mike.

View this post on Instagram

Pretty simple. Stay the fuck at home!

A post shared by Mikebisping (@mikebisping) on


Frank Camacho (22-8) vs. Alan Patrick (15-2); UFC Lincoln, April 25.


Thanks for reading and see y’all on Monday.



Who would’ve won this weekend?

This poll is closed

  • 52%
    (528 votes)
  • 47%
    (480 votes)
1008 votes total Vote Now

If you find something you’d like to see in the Morning Report, hit up @JedKMeshew on Twitter and let him know about it. Also follow MMAFighting on Instagram, add us on Snapchat at MMA-Fighting, and like us on Facebook.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the MMA Fighting Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your fighting news from MMA Fighting