After weeks of failed negotiations and frustrating stalemates, it appears as though the long-anticipated match-up between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson is closer to a done deal than ever before.
On Saturday morning, Khabib’s father and longtime coach Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov confirmed Ferguson as his son’s next opponent after being asked by a fan on his VKontakte account.
Khabib’s father’s comment comes on the heels of recent reports that Ferguson had verbally agreed to the match-up, though it remains to be seen if the UFC granted Ferguson’s demand for equal pay as Nurmagomedov. When asked about the contractual issues on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour, El Cucuy told show host Ariel Helwani to “ask them why they’re not paying me, and maybe we’ll get some answers.” And though the UFC is yet to make an official announcement, it appears that both parties have reached an amicable agreement.
While Abdulmanap’s comment didn’t specify an exact date for the match-up, Helwani revealed that UFC 209 was the planned date for the bout and still appears to be the case. Nurmagomedov furthered cemented that date when he revealed that he has begun an eight-week training camp in anticipation for a match-up on March 4, 2017.
Earlier reports also suggested that the fight would be for the interim lightweight title, though that is yet to be confirmed.
*To learn more about Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov and his pivotal role in Khabib’s life, read Karim Zidan’s longform ‘Dagestani Dynasty.’