Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President Dana White is willing to risk an asteroid strike to rebook the oft-canceled Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Tony Ferguson lightweight title fight, assuming both fighters remain at the top of the 155-pound division.
Nurmagomedov, however, is not so sure.
“Tony Ferguson is finished now,” Nurmagomedov told ESPN. “He’s gonna come back, and someone gonna beat him again, I believe. Because when you take damage like this, you’re never going to be the same. Never. Even if you’re Tony Ferguson.”
Ferguson, who turns 37 in just a few months, was hospitalized after absorbing a frightening amount of damage in his technical knockout loss to Justin Gaethje in the UFC 249 headliner last May, a performance that may have signaled the end of his career.
And cutting weight twice within a span of three weeks certainly didn't help.
“Stupid,” Nurmagomedov said about Ferguson’s scale challenge. “I like Tony Ferguson but he’s stupid guy, this is what I think. He keep talking about me. Why are you talking about me? Justin Gaethje just smashed your face, smash you everywhere. Why are you talking about me?”
Ferguson was back in the headlines earlier this week when he ripped into everyone from Michael Chandler to Conor McGregor. And yes, “El Cucuy” still plans to get a shot at the lightweight title, which Nurmagomedov will defend against Gaethje in the UFC 254 headliner later this month on “Fight Island.”
“Tony Ferguson is great fighter and right now he have choice,” Nurmagomedov continued. “He can come to Fight Island and fight Islam (Makhachev). Islam have six-fight win streak, he is almost in the Top 10. Why not? Why he don’t want to take this fight? UFC is going to give him good money. Ali Abdelaziz is going to give him $100,000 and $100,000. After that, maybe he can fight for the title if he win. But I think his time is finished.”
As of this writing, Ferguson remains unbooked.
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 254 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on ESPN 2/ESPN+ at 12 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 2 p.m. ET on ESPN+.
To check out the latest and greatest UFC 254: “Khabib vs. Gaethje” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.
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