Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Tony Ferguson will go down in MMA history as one of the greatest fight to never happen. The match-up was scheduled on multiple occasions, but fell away to varying circumstances each and every time.
There was the tiramisu incident involving Khabib, cable-gate involving Ferguson and then the COVID-19 pandemic. For whatever reason, though they came close, it feels as though the MMA Gods just did not want to see Nurmagomedov and Ferguson throw down in the cage.
Despite the pair never fighting, there remains a high level of animosity between the two. And the latest volley in their ongoing feud has been lobbed over by Nurmagomedov, who spoke to RT about his rival.
With that outlet ‘The Eagle’, who retired last year, reasoned that ‘El Cucuy’ should follow suit.
“He is 38 years old,” said Nurmagomedov (ht MMA Fighting). “Tell me how he can make a comeback? He was dominated in his last three bouts. Different styles - a striker, a grappler... Dariush, Oliveira, Gaethje, they all dominated him both standing up and on the ground. When you are 38, I believe, you have to pull the brakes and there have to be people around him to say: ‘Hey, you are aging, you have to stop.’”
Nurmagomedov further argued that he felt Ferguson should walk away from the sport and used one of his teammates, the 37-year-old Shamil Zvurov, as an example.
“We have been saying that to Shami for the last year and a half. Shamil is far from young, too. We gave our all to persuade him this should be his farewell fight. Although if we had not told him that he would’ve fought until he was 45. So... fighting is a tough business. Especially, when you are not young and you keep getting knocked out. That affects your health. He has, like, more than 10 kids - he has to raise them.
“You have to think about the future, not just your MMA career. You turn 40, 50, 60 years old, how are you going to live life when you are over 50? You have to think about the future.”
Nurmagomedov announced his retirement from MMA in the cage at UFC 254 last October, a month after he turned 32. Nurmagomedov had just submitted Justin Gaethje to defend the UFC lightweight title for the last time.
That win capped off the Dagestani’s career at a perfect 29-0 record. Before beating Gaethje, Nurmagomedov submitted both Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor. Nurmagomedov won the title after beating Al Iquinta (who came in on short notice for Ferguson) at UFC 223 in 2018.
Ferguson is currently on a three fight losing skid with losses to Beneil Dariush, Charles Oliveira and Gaethje. Before those losses Ferguson had a 25-0 record. His last victories in the Octagon came against Donald Cerrone, Anthony Pettis and Kevin Lee.