Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Tony Ferguson has become the UFC’s white whale of a fight. Several times the promotion has tried to match the two elite lightweights, and every time some mishap has scratched the fight, often on fight week if not fight weekend. And while some people consider the match up to be cursed, one person that’s still interested in seeing it happen is Khabib himself, and he claims fans on the internet have a serious desire to see the scrap.
“Yes, it’s a great fight,” Nurmagomedov said in a recent interview (translated by RT Sport). “It’s one of the best ... not even one of the best, it’s the most anticipated fight in the UFC. I’ve been told about it by the UFC owners, because they monitor what people say on the internet. And this is the most anticipated fight at the moment. So let’s hope he comes back.”
Ferguson’s status as an active fighter is currently murky after his wife was forced to call the police several times over his increasingly paranoid and violent behavior. Court documents detailed Ferguson destroying his home in search of hidden cameras and his belief that someone had implanted microchips in his body.
“[His] erratic behavior is getting worse and more frightening,” Ferguson’s wife claimed in court documents. ”I am afraid that during one of [his] episodes [he] will kill me, our son and/or himself.”
Ferguson has since been getting help, but this is obviously a serious problem that isn’t just solved quickly or easily. Khabib touched on the situation, and with a lot of respect.
”From what I understood at least, there were some reports about calls to the police,” Nurmagomedov said. “I really didn’t want to go into details, because I myself wouldn’t want to have that sort of attention. I can only imagine how hard it is for him. Especially since it’s about his family. Again, I didn’t follow it closely, I just read some things on the internet.”
“May God give him good health and the best of luck,” he continued. “Sport is sport, but family is family. And let’s hope he’ll return. It’s very strange to see him away, he has an 11-fight win streak in the lightweight division. And now he’s on the sidelines.”
“I guess that just means that at this moment in time he has to go through this test. Each person faces their own challenge. Some people get ill, some people let money go to their heads, some people drink. Some people have ‘star fever.’ Different people face tests in different ways. Some have surgery, some become champions who don’t have time for training. So each person faces their own challenge. And it looks like he will have to go through his own challenge.”
”Let’s hope he’ll come out as a winner and come back,” he finished. “And hopefully we’ll fight one day.”
It won’t be any time soon. In an earlier interview, Nurmagomedov revealed plans for a September return in Abu Dhabi against the winner of the UFC 236 fight between Max Holloway and Dustin Poirier. And with the lightweight division so deep and competitive, Ferguson will undoubtedly have to prove himself once more in the cage if he wants to finally step into the cage with Khabib.