Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Tony Ferguson is the UFC’s white whale of showdowns and the fifth proposed installment of the blockbuster bout looks as if it is to be canceled, again. The two fierce rivals are due to do battle at UFC 249 in Brooklyn on April 18th, before the bout was scrapped due to the health issues sweeping the globe.
Both brawlers share a long history of the supposable ‘cursed fight’ being postponed and now the pair might have to swallow the sour pill of cancellation yet another time. The light at the end of the tunnel is that UFC president Dana White is convinced he can push on with the event and give the fans the fight they have been waiting for. Bet Today USA has all the latest UFC predictions and latest MMA news, so don’t miss out and dive into all the action.
The fight withdrawals started at The Ultimate Fighter 22 Finale when Ferguson was 19-3 at the time. Khabib was 22-0, but a rib injury forced the Dagestani out of the bout. Ferguson continued to compete at the event scoring a second-round submission win over Edson Barboza, winning fight of the night. The evening was an action-packed, bloody battle that established Ferguson as one of the most feared and thrilling UFC fighters in the world.
This time around it was Ferguson’s turn to experience an injury/illness that led to the cancellation of the two locking horns. The American discovered blood/fluid in his lungs which forced him to duck out of the bout. AS Ferguson did the previous year, Khabib would stop the opponent who stepped up in Ferguson’s place. ‘The Eagle’ showcased why he was a foe to be feared as he scored a dominant second-round TKO win via ground-and-pound strikes over a defenseless Darrell Horcher. Khabib’s win prowess was catapulted to 23-0 after his impressive display.
Ferguson would return to the Octagon three months later with an electric, come-from-behind second-round submission victory over Lando Vannata via brabo choke.
UFC 209, Ferguson Khabib was the co-main event for a pay-per-view featuring the rematch between Tyron Woodley and Stephen Thompson. Unfortunately, complications during Khabib’s weight cut forced the Dagestani native out of the third and long-awaited bout.
This time around the culprit was Ferguson, ‘El Cucuy’ suffered a freak knee injury as he left the pre-fight press event. The American tripped while trying to greet someone, ultimately tearing a knee ligament in the process. The battle was off again, McGregor stole the limelight with his dolly-throwing antics, but Khabib would still compete. The 155-pound title was up for grabs and Al Iaquinta stepped up, but Khabib was too much to deal with eventually lifting the UFC Lightweight title.
Since then Ferguson has scored TKO over Anthony Pettis and Donald Cerrone and Khabib has remained flawless with stoppage wins over Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirer.
This fight was fast becoming a total washout and both fighters had started to see the pipe dream diminishing until Dana White crowbarred a date in the diary for the two to set aside their differences and battle it out in the octagon.
After President Trump initiated the travel ban, White continued to scout the globe for viable replacement venues eventually landing on Saudi Arabia. After speculation about forcing the fight through, Khabib returned to his native Dagestan after the global pandemic started catching wind and claimed to return to the US after he completed his training. The fight now, unfortunately, seems dead in the water.
Many still believe that Ferguson is the only man capable of dethroning the king of the lightweight division and the prospect of seeing these two in the same ring would attract a colossal pay-per-view audience. Ferguson’s unorthodox style many believe to be the weapon to topple the ‘Eagle’. Not only is the American’s style unpredictable, but he is also extremely competent with the weapons he uses.
Ferguson is a complete fighter and has the weapons in his locker to nullify Khabib’s unsurprising fight game. Ferguson can go toe-to-toe with the Dagestani, he can utilize his spinning elbow or knee attacks, or can use his long arms and legs to beat him via submission. The possibilities are endless when it comes to Ferguson’s unpredictability.
The Dagestani, on the other hand, is as transparent as it gets and has a complete fight game in his locker. The MMA world knows that he wants his opponents on the canvass where he can wrestle them into submission. This man is arguably the most effective wrestler on the planet and thrives fighting on his back than on his feet.
This is why many think Ferguson has the best chance of besting Khabib. The unpredictable American might confuse the Dagestani native and throw him off his fight game. While Nurmagomedov is the epitome of efficiency and will not want his fight card blemished by an opponent that enjoys rolling the fight game dice.
With Dana White under criticism for pressing ahead with plans to stage the event during a global pandemic, he must now decide if the fight is worth the health and wellbeing of the contenders.