For the fourth — and perhaps final — time, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) was unable have a fight between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson actually go down after months of promotion.
“The Eagle,” though, is not giving up hope on fighting “El Cucuy,” revealing on a recent edition of “The MMA Hour” that he still wants the bout to settle their rocky history.
“I still want this fight, even they change my opponent, I still want this fight. He has a 10-fight win streak. We have big history, maybe not perfect history, but big history. People still want this fight, Now, I have to focus on Max Holloway.”
“I told first, ‘Hey, where is this Burger King? Take the Burger King here. I need this guy becasue he put a tweet a couple of weeks ago that he stay ready. So where is this guy? Six days is good to make weight. He can make weight. But, Dana told that he has to look nice, because he has good sponsorship's and we cannot change his face. I say I need to fight for title and I don’t care who ... bring anybody. Please stop giving me regular fight because I deserve to fight for title. I have best win streak in UFC. I’m 29 years old, young hungry my time is coming. I need to fight for title.
“I never think Max Holloway. I think Poirier, Alvarez ... maybe Chiesa, Pettis because these guys fight same night.”
According to Khabib, he was told once the fight is made official after both fighters make weight, Conor and Ferguson will no longer be champions in any way, shape or form. That said, Khabib gave Max props for taking the short notice fight, something he admits he wouldn’t do himself to secure his legacy and won’t jump into a short-notice bout just to score a quick payday just to prove he’s tough.
“Every person is different. I heard his interview where he say I don’t care about belt, I care about check. I think UFC tell him they give him good money, you have to come here, and he said of course. This is very big show and he is part of pay per view and of course he will take this fight, because you want to fight for money. I respect him, Aloha, Max. He is champion for a reason at 145.”
Still, Khabib hurled a warning to Holloway, telling him he is not like the past foes he schooled during his impressive win streak, as he is not an aging veteran on his way out with no wrestling skills to speak of.
“He fought Aldo twice, Pettis, Lamas, Jeremy Stephens. All these guys, no one wrestling him. I watch his 12-fight win streak, no one wrestle him like me. Now, he is in a different territory, different weight classes, different animals, everything is different. He has an opponent who is young like him. He fought before Pettis, Aldo, these guys are already finished. Now he has a young, hungry opponent bigger than him. More strong than him, have more good wrestling pressure, undefeated, I think it’s going to be a long night for him.”
Edson Barboza knows all about Khabib’s dominant grappling game.
That said, Holloway isn’t afraid to face the Dagstani, since he is only “human” at the end of the day. Furthermore, Khabib isn’t underestimating “Blessed” one bit.
“I don’t want to underestimate this guy because this guy has 12-fight win streak in UFC, one of the greatest to ever compete in UFC. More than him win streak, Georges St-Pierre and maybe Anderson Silva. He’s tough, not a small guy. I don’t want to think it’s a much easier fight than Tony Ferguson. I think if they fought, in a stand up fight, Max Holloway can beat him (Ferguson).”
Revealing he’s currently just a tad under 170 pounds, Khabib says his sole focus is to hit his mark on weigh-in day and take care of business Saturday night. After that, he plans on talking to the UFC higher-ups about how he will change the game for them moving forward.