On Saturday at UFC 254, Khabib Nurmagomedov successfully defended his lightweight title with a second-round triangle choke of Justin Gaethje. Following his win, Nurmagomedov shocked the world by announcing his retirement from the sport. In his post-fight speech, Nurmagomedov cited the death of his father, Abdulmanap, earlier this year as the main reason behind his exit from the sport. But even though his reasoning seems iron clad, MMA retirements are notoriously short-lived, and at only 32 years old, Khabib is still in the prime of his career, and some people question if this retirement will be as permanent as it sounds.
Enter Tony Ferguson.
Ferguson and Nurmagomedov have one of the most storied rivalries in the MMA history, made all the more interesting because the two men never had the chance to actually fight. Five times a bout was booked between the two and five times it fell apart and now, with Khabib stepping away, it seems that the bout is lost forever. Ferguson disagrees though. In a recent interview with Submission Radio, the former interim lightweight champion said he believes Khabib won’t stay retired forever, and when he returns, Ferguson plans to be waiting.
“I completely called it out,” Ferguson said. “I called it out on my post. You guys can see that. I called he was gonna retire. I mean, Ali Abdelaziz (Khabib’s manager) did his job. He kept his client safe, kept him away from very dangerous opponents. I mean, that’s what an agent and a manger is supposed to do. Although, he is a piece of sh*t, but I have to say, he did the smart thing. I mean, he avoided me at all f*cking costs. I mean, the Russians, they avoided me at all fucking costs. That’s f*cking awesome. So, you know what, I did my job. They ran. F*ckin’ Dagestani ran with his tail between his legs. But you know what, he’s off in the sunset. I have to give him props. Go handle your family business, and I’ll see you when you get here. Back. Because you’re gonna miss it like Conor (McGregor). So, you know what, I’m calling it out again, he’s going to be back. So, I’ll be f*cking ready.”
Ferguson is not alone in feeling that Khabib will return, but though it’s obviously quite early, Nurmagomedov seems resolute in this decision, stating that he made a promise to his mother and cannot go back on that. In the meantime, Khabib’s exit from the sport opens up a world of possibilities for the lightweight division and Ferguson feels it should be him vs. Poirier to crown the new champion.
“I kind of called out everybody on one post, and Dustin already f*ckin’ said ‘Let’s do it’. So, he wants to fight for the f*ckin’ title for me, so he’s already the kind of dude to skip sh*t and kind of whatever he’s gotta do,” Ferguson said. “So, the way I called it was, you gotta have myself and you gotta have Dustin Poirier fight for the title. I mean, Gaethje f*cking lost. I’ve been sitting here and I’ve been doing my sh*t and making sure I’m keeping cool, calm and collected. Being real, give me the fucking title shot. Give me my chance. You guys want to see me fight, I really want to fight. I have a belt, I have a fight-of-the-year award, I have the Ultimate Fighter trophy, I got a couple of championship rings, I got medals, I got a bunch of awards and all American certificates, and certificates of merit for helping people out.”
Ferguson and Poirier were linked to a bout at UFC 254, but ultimately it fell through when the UFC could not get the fighters to come to terms. Now though, Poirier is looking at a fight with McGregor early next year and the growing consensus among fans is that, should the bout become official, the UFC will opt to make it for the vacant title. That’s bad news for Ferguson who says that McGregor does not deserve a title fight, given his sparse resume at 155 pounds.
“He just deserves a chance to fight, that’s what he deserves,” Ferguson said. “He just deserves a chance to fight. Fuck him and fighting for the title. He needs to fight. He needs to fight somebody like, I don’t know, top 15. Get his ass back on there. He don’t belong in the top five. Get the f*ck out of here.”
McGregor’s last fight was a win over the current 15th-ranked Donald Cerrone. However, the main problem for Ferguson is that he lost his last bout. Earlier this year, Ferguson was stopped by Gaethje, losing his opportunity at the undisputed title and dropping him to third in the rankings. But despite that fact, he still maintains that he is the rightful heir to Khabib’s throne.
“I’m ready for a belt,” Ferguson said. “That’s why I said I’m gonna throw a bit more media out there. I haven’t done it because I haven’t had a reason before. Even because I didn’t want to scare Khabib away. But even without f*ckin’ fighting that b*tch I made him retire. So, like I said, props to you, ride off into the sunset with your f*cking hat. When you come back, I’ll put my f*ckin’ baseball hat against your hat and we’ll have a nice cultured exchange.”
“So, like I said, he can ride off into the sunset, he can do his thing, but I’m not gonna change because somebody else is gone. I have to keep on my path. Props to him for completing his mission for his pops and everything like that, but my family would want me to keep continuing on in my dream and all my stuff and making sure I keep my word against other opponents.”
Bitter. Jon Jones rips Khabib Nurmagomedov taking top spot in UFC pound-for-pound rankings: ‘This is No. 1 bulls**t’.
Broken. Khabib Nurmagomedov reveals X-ray of broken toe suffered before final fight at UFC 254.
Between the Links.
Bellator 250 virtual media day.
UFC 254 Fight Motion
Khabib returns to Dagestan.
Douglas Lima trailer.
Bros being dudes at Abu Dhabi.
Cowboy in his element.
Randy on Jon Jones’ P4P GOAT aspirations.
Fights Gone By. Discussing the best performances at UFC 254.
Anik & Florian. Reflecting on UFC 254, Khabib’s retirement, and this weekend’s card.
Hating to a hilarious degree.
Unanimous decision over last minute replacement Al Iaquinta to become champion ♂️ Conor McGregor is the only opponent he’s ever had that the general public actually knew. Catapulted my man to becoming the best ever, this is hilarious
— BONY (@JonnyBones) October 27, 2020
Defeat is a tough pill to swallow but believe me when I say the dream of being champ is still there, I still want those top ten. Don’t count me out. pic.twitter.com/R8e5bSWrWB
— Nathaniel wood (@TheProspectMMA) October 27, 2020
UFC putting McGregor at the top of this is so dumb.
Clout trouts “and others” will do anything for this. It’s not till you get it that you realize how bullshit it is. Unless you making money off it!!!
— Israel Adesanya (@stylebender) October 28, 2020
Dana got sucked in by the infomercials.
Tomasz Narkun (17-3) vs. Ivan Erslan (9-0); KSW 56, Nov. 14
In the interview, Ferguson also says that if Khabib does stay retired, he could see them fighting in a grappling competition or something. Now that would be awesome.
Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow!
Does Tony Ferguson deserve to fight for the vacant title?
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