While former UFC champion Daniel Cormier has to worry about his own Octagon return, “DC” is still lobbying as best he can to keep Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Tony Ferguson on course for UFC 249 next month.
Cormier, who has trained alongside Khabib at American Kickboxing Academy since 2012, knows how important this upcoming UFC lightweight title defense is for the undefeated Russian. But with ongoing coronavirus spread and restrictions putting a full court press on UFC 249 nobody knows for sure if the event will actually take place.
UFC president Dana White revealed earlier this week that he has found a location to host the Frankenstein card, but nothing has been made official just yet. Cormier remains confident that White and company will get something done.
“I may be the only guy that wants this more than Dana White,” Cormier told MMA Fighting. “I might be the only guy that wants this more than Dana.
“I do believe he’ll get UFC 249 done. I don’t doubt him. I don’t doubt Dana. When he usually sets his mind to something, he gets it accomplished. He talked about FOX and ESPN and all those things back in the day and people thought he was insane. But then on Saturday we got 12 hours straight of UFC on ESPN. That never was a thought for us back in the day when we were watching this thing as it was starting to grow. I think his will and his passion has really guided this sport to places we never thought we’d be.”
While Cormier is hoping that White can pull another rabbit out of his hat, everything is up in the air right now. Even if UFC has locked down an official location for UFC 249 there’s a strong possibility that the area could receive additional COVID-19 restrictions in the coming weeks. Remember, UFC was adamant that the “show will go on” but ended up having to postpone three upcoming events.
“I believe UFC 249 will happen and I rarely disagree with what Dana says — I don’t know how he’s going to continue the full fight schedule after that,” Cormier said. “A one off, I think is easier to pull off because it’s so massive.
“I don’t know how difficult it’s going to be to do UFC Oklahoma City and UFC San Diego and UFC Portland. I don’t know how that looks opposed to UFC 249, one of the biggest cards of the year.”
Luckily for UFC, which continues to scramble to make UFC 249 a reality, Khabib and Ferguson really want to fight one another. Despite the ongoing coronavirus scare, both lightweights are focused with their ongoing training and will travel almost anywhere to finally lock horns inside of the Octagon after four failed bookings.
Cormier, who has known Nurmagomedov for almost a decade, can attest to this and how much a matchup with “El Cucuy” really means to the Russian champion.
“I’ve known Khabib for years. I know how much this particular fight means to him,” said Cormier. “He wants to fight Tony Ferguson. He wants to beat Tony Ferguson. I feel like he’s been preparing himself as well as he ever has in order to go accomplish that goal. Not only Khabib, but I’m sure Tony feels the same way.
“Dude has been waiting for years to get his hands on Khabib. What’s Tony won in a row now? 12 fights? It’s insane. The UFC put something up there the other day with Khabib’s last 12 opponents and Tony’s last 12 opponents. That’s absurd to have guys that high on the collision course to fight each other. Through all the fight rescheduling, all the postponements, nobody else has been able to beat or compete with these dudes. That tells you how ahead of everyone else that they are.”
How are you feeling about this, Maniacs? Will UFC 249 get done next month? Will the constant shake up play a role in Khabib vs. Ferguson itself?