Despite the fact that UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and top contender Tony Ferguson have been scheduled to fight each other four times in the past, the promotion still re-booked the matchup for the fifth time for UFC 249 this April in Brooklyn.
Fight fans aren’t just excited to see the two lightweights collide and settle their beef inside of the Octagon, they also want to see who is the absolute best 155-pound fighter in the world today. After all, Khabib is undefeated at 28-0 and Ferguson hasn’t lost in his last 12 trips to the Octagon.
Some people, including former UFC title challenger and current MMA color commentator Chael Sonnen, believe that the winner of Khabib vs. Ferguson will produce the greatest lightweight of all time. Either Nurmagomedov snaps Ferguson’s epic win streak and pushes his record to 29-0 or Ferguson pulls of the impossible, hands Khabib is first pro loss, and claims the undisputed UFC lightweight title in the process.
“It’s very hard to say that [the winner] wouldn’t be,” Sonnen told Drake Riggs when asked if the winner of the fight will be the lightweight GOAT. “Khabib probably has that claim already, particularly if you narrow it down to lightweight. If you were to just say the greatest ever, Khabib still has an argument, but I don’t know if he would win it. When you’re 28-0 in any division, you claim that division, particularly when you’re the world champion, and he already got some heavy lifting out of the way on the way to the title. You go back and look at the names he beat… 10-8 rounds against guys. Two or three 10-8 rounds against [Edson] Barboza, just as an example. I mean, this guy is a hammer.”
“But you are talking about Tony Ferguson,” Sonnen continued. “That’s whole ‘nother animal. He’ll attack you from the back, he’ll attack you on the walkout. You don’t know what Tony Ferguson’s going to do. I would never count him out. I think that your math is right. Whoever wins that fight is the best ever.”
Nurmagomedov, who is coming off back-to-back title defenses over Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier, is already considered one of the best pound-for-pound fighters of all time. McGregor, who was choked into submission by Khabib back at UFC 229, is the only UFC fighter ever to win a single round over “The Eagle.” That’s pretty insane, but all the proof you need to know that Ferguson will have his work cut out for him when the two meet this April in Brooklyn.
“It’s very hard to pick against Khabib with what you’ve seen,” Sonnen said. “And I must also share with you that I have a bias toward Tony because we are former teammates. I really do like Tony’s chances going into this, and I like them more and more as the fight gets closer. I think the Xs and Os are going to play out a bit. I’d like to hear who Tony is training with but also who’s doing the training. He went on Ariel Helwani’s show and made some comment about ‘we’re interviewing guy right now.’ Wait a minute. We don’t have a coach yet? Training partners? But you don’t know, Tony’s having fun out there half the time. I do think as that gets a little closer, it’ll get a little more exciting, but I think it’s very competitive, I can tell you that.”
What say you, Maniacs? Is Khabib vs. Ferguson for the “best ever” at 155 pounds? Does Ferguson have a real chance to pull off the win?