With UFC president Dana White making the retirement of Khabib Nurmagomedov official, it dropped the curtain on any possibility of 'The Eagle' fighting Tony Ferguson.
The two became UFC's star-crossed rivals, who were booked to fight against each other on five different occasions. But the bout ended up getting cancelled each time. It reached a point where fans sat in trepidation every time Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Tony Ferguson was booked, and the MMA community ended up calling the matchup 'cursed'.
In a recent exchange on Twitter, Khabib Nurmagomedov's longtime friend and manager Ali Abdelaziz took a shot at Tony Ferguson, telling him to go back to training as his last opponent held him on his back for twelve minutes. In response to that, 'El Cucuy' claimed that since Khabib Nurmagomedov never ended up fighting him, he would consider that to be a 'verbal tap'.
Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Tony Ferguson - the fight that never happened
Tony Ferguson was one of the many who reacted on social media to the news of Khabib Nurmagomedov retiring. Under the Instagram post by Dana White confirming the retirement, Tony Ferguson commented, "Be Good Fathead, #SeeYouAgain".
Needless to say, the comment made the fans of both the fighters as well as fans of MMA in general slightly bittersweet. Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Tony Ferguson was the fight that was years in the making, but never ever materialized due to one reason or the other.
Most recently, the two were supposed to lock horns at UFC 249 in April. It seemed like this time the stars might have aligned after all, but then the COVID-19 pandemic struck, bringing in travel restrictions all around the world. Despite Dana White's constant reassurances that the fight will happen, it did not.
Khabib Nurmagomedov could not make his way out of Russia in time for the fight due to travel restrictions. Heartbroken fans got an interim lightweight title fight instead between Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje.
Tony Ferguson lost the fight via technical knockout in the fifth round with a little more than a minute to go, thus losing his shot at the title and his last opportunity to fight the Dagestani champion.
Following this loss, Tony Ferguson faced Charles Oliveira at UFC 256, to which Ali Abdelaziz was alluding to in his tweet. Tony Ferguson was brutally mauled on the ground, including a visibly-terrifying hyperextension of the arm that nearly broke his arm.