Last weekend Khabib Nurmagomedov defended his UFC lightweight title by choking his challenger, Justin Gaethje, out cold. After the win, which took the Dagestani’s record to 29-0, Nurmagomedov announced that he would be retiring from the sport.
If ‘The Eagle’ has truly left MMA for good, many are left ruing that they never got to see Nurmagomedov take on Tony Ferguson, a fight that had been booked five times but then cancelled for a myriad of reasons.
Most recently, the match-up was nixed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. That world event kept Nurmagomedov stuck in Russia, with Gaethje filling in to fight Ferguson at UFC 249 in May. Gaethje won the fight by TKO, setting up his date with the 155 lb champion.
Recently Ferguson, who is ranked 3rd in the UFC’s lightweight rankings, spoke to Submission Radio about Nurmagomedov’s retirement. It’s safe to say that his rival’s exit from the sport has done nothing to cool the animosity between the pair.
“I’m ready for a belt,” said Ferguson (h/t MMA Mania). “That’s why I said I’m gonna throw a bit more media out there. I haven’t done it because I haven’t had a reason before. Even because I didn’t want to scare Khabib away. But even without fucking fighting that bitch I made him retire. So, like I said, props to you, ride off into the sunset with your fucking hat. When you come back, I’ll put my fucking baseball hat against your hat and we’ll have a nice cultured exchange.”
Among Ferguson’s claims against Nrumagomedov was that the undefeated fighter had not tested himself against ‘dangerous opponents’.
“Ali Abdelaziz did his job. He kept his client safe, kept him away from very dangerous opponents,” charged Ferguson. “I mean, the Russians, they avoided me at all fucking costs. They ran. Fucking Dagestani ran with his tail between his legs. But you know what, he’s off in the sunset. I have to give him props. Go handle your family business, and I’ll see you when you get here because you’re gonna miss it like Conor. So, you know what, I’m calling it out again, he’s going to be back. So, I’ll be fucking ready.”
When Ferguson lost to Gaethje in May that broke a 12-fight and seven-year long winning streak for the winner of TUF: Team Lesnar vs. Team dos Santos. During that stretch Ferguson put in Fight of Night performances over Donald Cerrone, Anthony Pettis, Rafael dos Anjos, Lando Vannata and Edson Barboza.