UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor is out until May, when he and longtime partner Dee Devlin are expecting their first child. That leaves the #1 and #2 contenders with enough time to chew each other out until a fight is made.
Nurmagomedov is 24-0, and 8-0 in the UFC. Ferguson is on a nine-fight win stream in the UFC, won six performance bonuses in his last five fights, and his last three fights were each Fight of the Night. Ferguson has won three Fight of the Nights and three ‘of the Night’ performance bonuses in his last five fights. By contrast, Nurmagomedov has won none.
In amateur sports, a win is a win, and moves you up the bracket. In professional combat sports, fan friendly fights matter in terms of opportunities.
Ferguson has multiple times called out Nurmagomedov. He told Ariel Helwani, “All bulls*** aside, the guy is a whiny b****.”
Ferguson was more specific in a recent interview with Submission Radio.
“Khabib, I don’t see him posing a threat,” he said. “It’s what the fans want. … They know that Khabib and I were supposed to fight in January but that dude backed out. He had some booboos that he had to take care of. So it’s okay. Go out to AKA and heal your booboos with Daniel Cormier a little bit. … I can stay and do this for the Ultimate Fighter. We can do Team Khabib versus Team Ferguson. That would be dope. Let’s throw it up for an interim belt.”
Now The Eagle is shrieking back.
“I Kill You Fast.” Khabib said on Twitter.
“I’ll take his 24-0 record — it’s f***ing padded dude,” said Ferguson. “Look at some of the legit fights he’s had and then look at mine. I’ll take my record over his any day. His record is so padded. He’s a paper champ. Get out of here.
“He says that belt is his? Get out of here. That s*** is up for grab. Unless they take that away from Conor so he better get his s*** together.”
“For Khabib you need a guy like me to fight and beat him. You need to put the pressure on, check his conditioning, put his neck in choking territory and really seriously put his heart into contention. See how bad he really wants that fight and wants that win.”
“Khabib’s got sambo not wrestling. My wrestling is far superior to his. He’s got decent sambo and decent jiu-jitsu but he doesn’t use it to his advantage. He uses a lot of energy. He uses a lot of unnecessary punches to try and ground and pound his opponents. He gets so inside of himself where he has to get so mad at his opponent to do that. If we fight five rounds or we fight three rounds, that guy is going to expend so much energy, he’s not going to be able to last with the kind of fighter that I am.
“Michael Johnson’s slick and he’s got good footwork and Khabib’s not used to that. I think he got a little bit shocked right away. He was getting hit like I was hitting RDA. Forcing somebody to shoot that puts him into snap down city territory. For me unless you know the detour route to that place, you’re not going to survive.”
“Khabib doesn’t have hands. I’m going to out box this dude. I’m going to be too slick for him. He’s flat footed. I’m going to take this dude apart.”