The UFC has attempted to book Tony Ferguson against Khabib Nurmagomedov on four separate occasions, and every time, the fight has fallen through. UFC president Dana White was frustrated to the point that he exclaimed “hell no” when he was asked whether he’d try to book the lightweight championship fight again.
But Nurmagomedov, should he get past Dustin Poirier next weekend in Abu Dhabi, wants the long-anticipated showdown with Ferguson next.
“There’s only Tony Ferguson,” Nurmagomedov told MMA Fighting during a UFC 242 media conference call. “Of course, I think he deserves. Who else? Nobody. Only Tony Ferguson I think.”
Nurmagomedov’s exclusion of McGregor is telling. He has maintained in the lead up to his title defense against Poirier that McGregor needs to earn his next shot at the champ.
Ferguson, on the other hand, has the resume to fit right in. Ferguson recently returned to the Octagon, earning a ref stoppage over Donald Cerrone when his opponent attempted to blow his nose, causing his eye to swell up. He hasn’t lost since 2012, and he’s riding a 12-fight win streak. Ferguson was forced to relinquish the interim lightweight belt following a torn LCL suffered in a freak injury on a television set ahead of UFC 223.
Since Ferguson was pulled from that card, Nurmagomedov earned a decision victory over his replacement, Al Iaquinta, then submitted Conor McGregor six months later. On Saturday, he’ll look to extend his unbeaten streak with a win over one of his toughest opponents to date in Poirier.