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Khabib Nurmagomedov believes Tony Ferguson should retire: ‘Tell me how he can make a comeback?’

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UFC 249 Khabib v Ferguson: Press Conference
Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson
Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

Former UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov never got the chance to fight rival Tony Ferguson and if it were up to him, Ferguson would join him in retirement.

At a press conference to announce a sponsorship deal with Gorilla Energy, Nurmagomedov was asked for his thoughts on Ferguson’s recent results. Ferguson has lost his past three fights after putting together a 12-fight win streak from 2013-2019. The lopsided losses have led to questions as to how much longer Ferguson will continue competing.

Nurmagomedov thinks that Ferguson should consider hanging up the gloves.

“He is 38 years old,” Nurmagomedov said in an interview posted and translated by RT Sport. “Tell me how he can make a comeback? He was dominated in his last three bouts. Different styles - a striker, a grappler... Dariush, Oliveira, Gaethje, they all dominated him both standing up and on the ground. When you are 38, I believe, you have to pull the brakes and there have to be people around him to say: ‘Hey, you are aging, you have to stop.’”

Nurmagomedov retired in October of last year and finished his career 29-0, with three UFC lightweight title defenses and a 13-0 mark in the promotion. During Ferguson’s lengthy win streak, a matchup between the two was among the most highly-anticipated in all of MMA and they were booked to face one another on five separate occasions. Unfortunately, every booking fizzled due to maladies on both sides.

Elaborating on why he would like to see Ferguson retire, Nurmagomedov pointed to teammate Shamil Zavurov to further explain his opinion. Zavurov, 37, just competed in his 47th pro bout this past June and despite having a healthy 40–6–1 record and 11 wins in his past 12 fights, Nurmagomedov still wants Zavurov to step away from competition soon.

“We have been saying that to Shami for the last year and a half,” Nurmagomedov continued. “Shamil is far from young, too. We gave our all to persuade him this should be his farewell fight. Although if we had not told him that he would’ve fought until he was 45. So... fighting is a tough business. Especially, when you are not young and you keep getting knocked out. That affects your health. He has, like, more than 10 kids - he has to raise them.

“You have to think about the future, not just your MMA career. You turn 40, 50, 60 years old, how are you going to live life when you are over 50? You have to think about the future.”