Few MMA rivalries have endured as long as Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Tony Ferguson. And it has remained intense despite the pair never facing each other in the cage. Though, that wasn’t for the lack of trying. The fighters were paired up on five occasions, but their fight never came to fruition for a myriad of reasons.
After their last booking went awry, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Nurmagomedov went on to defend his UFC lightweight title versus Justin Gaethje before calling it a career. Ferguson, on the other hand, lost to Gaethje and then furrent champ Charles Oliveira. Recently, he took his third loss in a row; a unanimous decision against Beneil Dariush at UFC 262.
At a recent press conference for his Eagle FC MMA promotion Nurmagomedov was asked, perhaps jokingly, if he would consider signing Ferguson should he be cut from the UFC.
Surprisingly, Nurmagomedov refused to rule out the idea of working with El Cucuy.
“Anything is possible,” he said, referring to signing Ferguson, as well as Cody Garbrandt (ht sportskeeda). “We are open to everything. In two days, when we will be holding another press conference, we will be ready to announce the signing of Kevin Lee. We are close to finalizing the deal but nothing is official yet. Why not? These guys have built themselves throughout their careers. They have over 10 fights in the UFC, are former champions of the UFC.”
That’s quite the change of tune from The Eagle regarding a person he called “pure dirt” in his memoir. He also recently said Ferguson should retire.
Nurmagomedov’s promotion is due to debut in the US on January 28. The headliner for that bout is Tyrone Spong vs. Sergei Khartonov (replacing Antonio ‘Bigfoot’ Silva). Former UFC light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans, who retired in 2018, is also expected to compete at the event.
If Kevin Lee, who was recently released by the UFC, does sign for Eagle FC that would be arguably the most significant signing to date for the upstart promotion.