Ben Askren points out why Tony Ferguson is likely to stop Khabib Nurmagomedov
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Ben Askren has an idea or two about how the unstoppable Khabib Nurmagomedov can be finally defeated.
The Lightweight Champion is set to face Tony Ferguson on April 18, and the challenge is being hailed by many as the toughest Nurmagomedov has ever faced in his career. He is known for finishing his bouts by pinning down his opponents on the canvas. But in Ferguson, he meets his match, be it in ground-and-pound action or jiu-jitsu skills.
Speaking to Submission Radio, Askren explained why he too is with them who think Ferguson has what it takes to stop Nurmagomedov's undefeated streak.
Ben Askren breaks down the fight
While Nurmagomedov is nearly unrivaled when it comes to grappling and takedowns, Ferguson's brilliance lies in his ability to fight off his back and using unexpected moves, which might turn the bout in his favor, says Askren.
"Khabib’s obviously going to get takedowns, and he’s been so dominant with ground-and-pound. But at the same time, Tony is so active off his back and he’s good with the elbows and he’s got a lot of tricky stuff. I think it’s going to be totally fascinating. I’m excited to see what happens."
The reason Askren believes Ferguson can pull it off is because of the tenacity and resilience he shows inside the Octagon. 'El Cucuy' is not someone who keels over easily and has just the right mix of hard-hitting and takedown skills that is required to beat someone with the caliber of Khabib.
"Tony’s a great fit, because he’s not going to stay put on bottom. Tony can take a lot of damage, which, you know – Khabib will dish it out. Tony doesn’t get tired. And then Tony’s a high-volume striker. He’s not a power puncher, which I don’t think is the right mix to beat Khabib because I think you have to kind of fight him hard, stuff a few takedowns and volume strike him. And I think that’s how you’re going to beat him – and that’s what Tony does. So there’s a possibility."
There is still uncertainty around the fight, as Coronavirus pandemic has made it impossible for UFC to make events for now. UFC president Dana White had to cancel three events till April 11 but has been adamant about making the Khabib vs. Tony fight happen at all costs.
Askren had a unique suggestion for White to combat the situation, where he urged him to not be "greedy" and keep things simple. He suggested getting rid of the undercard, get judges to be remote and limit the number of coaches allowed per fighter to meet the 10-people restriction on gatherings.Published 21 Mar 2020, 17:00 IST