Khabib Nurmagomedov's head coach believes Tony Ferguson is Russian's toughest challenge; predicts the possible outcome of the fight
- Khabib Nurmagomedov's head coach explains why Tony Ferguson is his toughest challenge
- Coach gives an idea of what to expect from the fight, if and when it happens
There is a cloud of uncertainty around the title fight for UFC Lightweight gold between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson.
But if the fight does happen in the end, Ferguson would be the toughest challenge that Nurmagomedov has ever faced, according to the latter's longtime coach Javier Mendez.
Speaking on Submission Radio, Mendez praised Ferguson's skill-set and believes that the 36-year-old is "dangerous everywhere".
Mendez says Khabib has dangerous skill sets, but so do Tony
Javier Mendez is the head coach at American Kickboxing Academy (AKA), which has been the Lightweight Champion's training center for many years now. Despite the growing coronavirus scare, Khabib has been training hard with Mendez and staying ready for the April 18 bout.
In the interview, Mendez gave credit to his student's former rival Conor McGregor for his striking abilities. But in his opinion, Ferguson would be the most dangerous opponent for 'The Eagle' so far in his career.
"Well for me, I just go by the toughest opponent. I think overall, Tony [Ferguson] is the toughest opponent, overall, with everything in skill set... Striking wise, I think Conor [McGregor] was the best striker he has ever faced. But I think overall, Tony has got the best overall skills out of anybody he [Nurmagomedov] has ever fought. ‘Cause he’s dangerous on the feet and he’s dangerous on the ground. He’s got decent wrestling, he’s dangerous everywhere."
True enough, Ferguson's grappling skills are world-famous. But Khabib himself is quite an artist in that form of fighting, and Mendez says fans can expect a new and more refined fighting style from him now.
"Khabib has also improved a lot in so many different areas. The last [fight] wasn’t as good as he is in this fight so we will see a new Khabib."
Mendez predicts the result of the fight
Mendez says that they are expecting a new Ferguson as well, but believes that Khabib will definitely take him down before the fight is over. According to Mendez, many opponents do not have an accurate gauge of Khabib's skill coming into the fight, and they end up being taken by surprise inside the Octagon when the bout commences.
"We will see when we get there. It’s hard to say. You know he’s never fought someone like Tony. Tony has never fought someone like him. We’ll see what happens when Khabib takes him down because that’s going to happen, and we’ll see if Tony can do what he’s used to doing... He [Ferguson] may find he can’t and that may be one of the areas where he'll go 'oh cr*p, I didn't realise he was this good.' Mostly, everybody that’s ever dealt with him [Nurmagomedov], they come up saying, 'I knew he was good, but I didn’t know he was that good.'"
Since NYSAC banned UFC 249 from happening at its original venue of Barclays Centre in Brooklyn, the venue of the fight is still unsure. But if UFC president Dana White's words are to be believed, he will go to any extent to make the fight happen.Published 19 Mar 2020, 19:48 IST