UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov believes that the fight game is all about respect and the undefeated Russian's gesture towards Tony Ferguson after the latter suffered a heartbreaking loss at the hands of Justin Gaethje at UFC 249, is a great example of showing respect to contemporaries in MMA.
Nurmagomedov and Ferguson share a heated rivalry between themselves and the pair have infamously been booked to fight five times in the past with the bout never finally materializing. The most recent time was when the pair were set to headline UFC 249 on April 18 but the event got postponed due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Nurmagomedov extends the olive branch
UFC 249 was later scheduled for May 9 but Nurmagomedov had to pull out because he was stranded in Russia due to an ongoing travel ban. Justin Gaethje later replaced the Russian and ended up finishing Ferguson in the fifth and final round, becoming the interim champion and setting himself a date with Nurmagomedov in the near future.
The loss was a heartbreaking one for "El Cucuy" who took his first loss after twelve consecutive wins inside the Octagon. Nurmagomedov took to Twitter to send a message of support to Ferguson, who earlier asked for him to retire when the Russian pulled out of UFC 249.
“Whatever happened is in the past. Heads up Tony, I hope everything is good with you and your family. When your son grow up, he’ll be proud with you.”
In the post-fight interview, Ferguson congratulated Gaethje on the win and later revealed that he suffered an orbital fracture that could keep him out of action for sometime now. Though Ferguson still remains a top draw, the fight against Khabb is something that he has to forget for now, or maybe, forever.