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Watch: Tony Ferguson's classy reaction to Khabib Nurmagomedov's retirement at UFC 254

Former UFC interim lightweight champion Tony Ferguson
Former UFC interim lightweight champion Tony Ferguson
Anurag Mitra
ANALYST
Modified 29 Oct 2020, 12:26 IST
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UFC lightweight contender Tony Ferguson knows that the fight game is all about respect. In recently released footage, "El Cucuy" was seen giving UFC 254 headliners Khabib Nurmagomedov and Justin Gaethje a standing ovation while watching the American console the Dagestan native following their fight.

Putting up arguably the best performance of his entire career, Khabib Nurmagomedov pulled off a second-round submission win via triangle choke, rendering "The Highlight" unconscious.

Immediately following the win, Nurmagomedov broke down into tears in the middle of the Octagon. Realizing the emotional baggage that the champ brought into this fight following the demise of his father and trainer Abdulmanap in July this year, Justin Gaethje walked up to him, put an arm around his shoulder and consoled him in a brilliant display of sportsmanship.

The standing ovation was also a beautiful gesture from Tony Ferguson and it proves that MMA is not all about trash-talk and bad blood.

Tony Ferguson then went on to appreciate the stellar performance Nurmagomedov put up on the night by speaking about how dominant he was on the night.

Ferguson claimed that he was impressed by a high knee Khabib hit Gaethje with during the fight. Ferguson further gave credit to Khabib's late father for The Eagle's superior Sambo skills and congratulated the undisputed and undefeated champ on his retirement.

You can see Tony Ferguson's reaction in the video below:

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A Tony Ferguson - Khabib Nurmagomedov dream match-up not possible

It is understandable if former UFC interim lightweight champion Tony Ferguson is disappointed at Khabib Nurmagomedov's retirement at UFC 254. We can finally add the dream match-up between Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov to "the one that got away" list in MMA.

Ferguson and Khabib were booked to fight on five different occasions previously. Every time, either injury, a bad weight-cut or travel restriction due to the Covid-19 pandemic foiled those plans.

The last time the pair was supposed to throw down was back in May this year in the headliner of UFC 249.

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However, due to Covid-19 related travel restrictions in Russia, Nurmagomedov was forced to pull out of the scrap and Justin Gaethje stepped up to fight Ferguson in a bout that would determine who'd go on to challenge the undefeated Russian.

As fate would have it, Gaethje beat Tony Ferguson to become the interim champ and book a date with Khabib. Ferguson's hopes of fighting the Russian were dealt another severe blow by destiny.

Published 27 Oct 2020, 12:22 IST
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