There was a time when Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President, Dana White, flat-out refused to book the lightweight battle between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson, simply because he tried — and failed — to get the fight done on four separate occasions.
These days, he doesn’t have much choice.
That’s because Nurmagomedov is the undisputed lightweight champion and Ferguson is without question the division No. 1 contender, and has been for quite some time, and with Conor McGregor (and his record-breaking payday) already out of the way, it’s time for the 155-pound showdown over four years in the making.
“It will happen, there are talks currently ongoing, it will be either in March or April,” Nurmagomedov said. “The backstory of this fight is what makes it so anticipated. We’re currently putting everything in action. He has 12 straight wins in UFC, I have 12 straight wins, so I think it will be a very good fight. I’m preparing for it, mentally and physically.”
The promotion first tried to pair them off at TUF 22 Finale, until a knee injury sent Nurmagomedov to the sidelines. Then came the second attempt at UFC on FOX 19, but bloody lungs put Ferguson out of action. Third time’s the charm? It was, until a weight-cutting fail (or too much Tiramisu) grounded “The Eagle” at UFC 209. That was followed by the ill-timed knee injury to “El Cucuy” ahead of UFC 223.
There has been talk of putting Nurmagomedov against Georges St-Pierre if and when “Rush” can make the successful drop to 155 pounds; however, their much-ballyhooed “super fight” will have to come after Ferguson gets his crack at the crown, according to White, and may never come at all if “El Cucuy” is able to upset the lightweight apple cart.
As for the “idiot,” he’s expected to make his return to the Octagon on Jan. 18.