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Tony Ferguson sparring for the first time since 2015 in preparation for Khabib Nurmagomedov

Tony Ferguson is back sparring for the first time in five years.

UFC 238: Cejudo v Moraes Photo by Todd Lussier/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Tony Ferguson is as unorthodox outside the cage as he is inside the cage.

The former UFC interim lightweight champion revealed in a recent interview with ESPN’s Brett Okamoto that he hasn’t sparred since 2015, back when he beat Gleison Tibau via first-round submission at UFC 184.

For the Khabib fight, however, ‘El Cucuy’ has reintroduced sparring into his training regimen to prepare for Nurmagomedov’s wrestling.

“I haven’t sparred since Tibau,” Ferguson said. So, it’s a little bit different now.”

“It’s kinda like when you graduate from college, you get a bunch of tools and you actually have to go out there and use them on the field,” Ferguson said when asked why he had reintroduced sparring back into his training regimen. “Now I can gameplan.”

Ferguson went on to say that he hasn’t been taken down once in sparring and is treating Khabib as just another opponent. The MMA veteran is currently riding a twelve-fight win streak and has looked just as dangerous on the ground as he is on the feet, but Khabib is a different animal altogether. The undefeated UFC lightweight champion possesses arguably the best wrestling in MMA and has dominated and outgrappled virtually all his opponents.

UFC 249: Khabib vs. Ferguson takes place next month, April 18 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

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