The bad blood between interim UFC lightweight champion Tony Ferguson and top contender Khabib Nurmagomedov boiled over earlier this week during a media conference call for their title fight at UFC 223 on April 7 live on pay-per-view (PPV) from inside Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
Considering this is the fourth time Ferguson and Khabib have been scheduled to fight, they’ve become arch rivals in the mixed martial arts (MMA) space. Each fighter believes they’re the best in the world and will do anything to prove it. Ferguson is riding a 10-fight win streak and holds a 155-pound title, while Nurmagomedov has amassed a perfect 25-0 professional record, so it’s difficult to blame each of them for their confidence.
While the two can do all the trash talking they want leading up to UFC 223, only one man will exit the cage victorious next weekend in Brooklyn. Even though Ferguson hasn’t tasted defeat since 2012, Khabib is confident that he can catch “El Cucuy” on the feet and finish him on the ground.
“I’m going to give him a very strong left hook — left hook, he goes down and then I choke him,” Nurmagomedov said during the intense UFC 223 media call.
“So a rear-naked choke, that’s what he’s thinking?” responded Ferguson. “I’ve got something planned for your ass.”
Nurmagomedov once again confirmed his prediction, but this time he revealed the type of submission he’s going to finish Ferguson with.
“I’m going to give him very nice D’Arce choke,” said Nurmagomedov.
Remember, Ferguson has proven throughout his career that he’s the best D’Arce choke finisher in MMA today, evident by the three he has pulled off since 2013 (Khabib doesn’t have one to his name). So while Nurmagomedov is probably giving his honest outlook on his upcoming title match with Ferguson, he’s also getting under the skin of his opponent with this particular prediction.
Only time will tell if Khabib can remain perfect against an elite opponent like “El Cucuy” and win his first UFC title. Nurmagomedov has smashed all of his Octagon adversaries to date, but Ferguson is a unique fighter capable of winning in a variety of ways. If Khabib isn’t careful, Ferguson may use his own prediction against him.
UFC 223 will also feature a women’s strawweight title rematch between current champion Rose Namajunas and former divisional queen Joanna Jedrzejczyk.
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