Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Tony Ferguson will probably never happen despite being booked five times, but “El Cucuy” isn’t giving up talking smack just yet. The former interim champion commented on an Instagram post trying to discredit Khabib’s MMA record.
“Ahhh Khabieber’s record… facts: more than half of fatheads professional fights were only two round sanctioned bouts. All before UFC. To be professional fights in most leagues, there must be three sanctioned rounds to be considered professional. Fights (sic) leagues such [as] UFC & farm league. The three by two round TUF fights should count on my record if that’s the case. Give me three more knockouts & victories on my record.”
Bisping has since responded to defend Khabib and say that Ferguson’s argument doesn’t have much logic.
“Just look up the record — the professional boxing record of — I dunno, I dunno what it’s like, Floyd Mayweather. Let’s go with that, okay. He’s considered the best ever, like Khabib (Nurmagomedov’s) considered the best ever, so compare his. ‘Cause I guarantee, it’s like you, Luis (J. Gomez) when you started doing comedy, you were doing it in some s—thole, or some basement, or some kitchen, or maybe some cafe like on New Year’s Eve or whatever it was you were,” Bisping said on his podcast, (transcript via LowKickMMA) addressing his co-host.
“The point I’m making is, you build, you build to that (level),” Bisping said. “When I started in the UFC — or sorry, professional MMA, the guy I fought wasn’t very good. You build your way up to it and you fight the best guys when you get up to that level. You shouldn’t be fighting good guys at that time.
“And since he’s got to the UFC, and continued to be undefeated and — I mean, I love Tony (Ferguson) but there’s no logic in the argument there,” Bisping said. “Ok, great he didn’t fight the best people prior to the UFC, ok fair enough have whatever feelings you want on that. When he got to the UFC, he remained undefeated, he fought excellent competition. He beat (Dustin) Poirier, (Conor) McGregor, (Justin) Gaethje — there’s so many people I can’t think off the top of my head, and he beat them all. So what he did before the UFC shouldn’t even matter.”
Khabib’s first four decision wins were indeed under just two five-minute rounds, but for what it’s worth, three of them were from a one-night tournament a month after his pro debut. The rest of his bouts leading up to the UFC were all finishes.
Sanctioning in Russia is also different from the major states in the US, so the round qualifications Ferguson mentioned obviously didn’t apply there. As Bisping also noted, it’s common in just about any combat sport for people to fight inexperienced and/or lower caliber opponents very early in their careers. His weaker opponents in 2008 also shouldn’t matter much now, since Khabib more than proved himself to be a legitimate champion by beating several top guys and retiring undefeated in the UFC.