The bout between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson has been booked five times. It was arguably the most awaited fight of the current era of UFC. Unfortunately, it has never materialized inside the Octagon. Now it’s all in the past.
In 2015 Nurmagomedov was forced to pull out due to rib injury. In 2016 Ferguson withdrew due to a lung issue. In March 2017 Nurmagomedov fell ill due to weight cut. In 2018 Ferguson withdraw due to knee injury. Most recently, the fight was cancelled amid coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, which led to shut borders resulting in inability for “The Eagle” to fly out of Russia.
Ferguson was stopped in the fifth round of their fight against Justin Gaethje yesterday at UFC 249. The latter was crowned an interim lightweight champion and is now expected to face the reigning 155-pound king, Nurmagomedov, in the championship unification at the future event in 2020.
“El Cucuy” suffered the first defeat in eight years, which snapped his 12-fight win streak. Now 36-year-old former number one contender will have to go through a number of fights (or perhaps one only) in order to earn his next title shot. Time will tell whether he will once again have a chance to challenge Nurmagomedov.
In a way or another, for Khabib Nurmagomedov the rivalry with Tony Ferguson is (currently) over.
“Whatever happened is in the past,” the undisputed champion posted on Twitter on Monday. “Heads up Tony, I hope everything is good with you and your family. When your son grow up, he’ll be proud with you.”
Everything as always might rapidly change, in terms of who sits on the top of the lightweight division. Now it logically depends on how the things play out when Nurmagomedov squares off against Gaethje.
There is also former two-division champion Conor McGregor, who was promised a title shot and rematch against Nurmagomedov, ahead of his fight against Donald Cerrone. Yet, one can say it’s not exactly relevant at this stage.