Next year, two of the very best fighters in the world will go head-to-head in one of the most anticipated title fights in UFC history, as reigning, undefeated lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov will defend his title against Tony Ferguson in the UFC 249 main event at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.
Khabib (12-0 UFC, 28-0 MMA) is ranked #2 in the UFC pound-for-pound rankings, while Ferguson (15-3 UFC, 23-3 MMA) is ranked #10. With both men already on the p4p list, Chael Sonnen believes a win at UFC 249 could be for all the marbles, as ‘The American Gangster’ says whoever wins could be crowned ‘the best ever’.
“It’s very hard to say that [the winner] wouldn’t be,” Sonnen told Drake Riggs of RT Sport when asked if the winner of Khabib vs. Ferguson would be deserving of the No. 1 spot. “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.”
Asked how he expects the matchup to unfold, Sonnen said he wouldn’t be surprised to see ‘El Cucuy’ walk away with the victory but expects a highly competitive, back-and-forth fight between two of the best lightweights to have ever fought in the UFC.
“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 guys 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.”
UFC 249: Khabib vs. Ferguson will take place next year, April 18 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.