In a moment that shocked the MMA world, UFC Lightweight Champion Khabib Nurmagomedov announced his retirement from the Octagon after he submitted Justin Gaethje at UFC 254. Although the news came as a surprise, his reason behind the decision is hardly a questionable one. One man who does not believe the retirement will stick, though, is Tony Ferguson.
During his post-fight speech, Khabib cited the recent passing of his father and lifelong mentor Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov as the reason behind his decision to quit.
However, retirements in combat sports are often short-lived. Several fighters have announced retirement before, only to make their way back into the Octagon. Conor McGregor is probably one of the biggest examples of it.
Tony Ferguson will be ready for Khabib Nurmagomedov
The unique thing about the Tony Ferguson-Khabib Nurmagomedov rivalry was that it never materialized into a fight inside the Octagon. Five times a bout was booked between the two, and five times they were cancelled due to various reasons.
Now with Khabib retired, MMA fans might just have missed out on the opportunity of ever seeing that fight happen.
However, Tony Ferguson is confident that Khabib will not stay retired forever, and when he returns, 'El Cucuy' will be prepared for the fight.
Tony Ferguson once again called out Khabib and his team for avoiding a fight with him, which has been a common theme for trash talk in both the camps throughout their feud.
"I completely called it out. I called it out on my post. You guys can see that. I called he was gonna retire. I mean, Ali Abdelaziz (Khabib’s manager) did his job. He kept his client safe, kept him away from very dangerous opponents. I mean, that’s what an agent and a manger is supposed to do... But you know what, he’s off in the sunset. I have to give him props. Go handle your family business, and I’ll see you when you get here. Back. Because you’re gonna miss it like Conor (McGregor). So, you know what, I’m calling it out again, he’s going to be back. So, I’ll be f*cking ready." (H/t MMA Fighting)
Although Khabib has announced his retirement, the 155-pound title that he holds is still not vacant. If he really quits and stays retired for the time being, it will open up an opportunity for every top contender in the Lightweight division, including Tony Ferguson.
'El Cucuy' feels like it is his turn to get a chance at the title, and he wants to fight Dustin Poirier for the Championship bout.
"So, the way I called it was, you gotta have myself and you gotta have Dustin Poirier fight for the title."
But records are not in Tony Ferguson's favor, as he lost his last fight to Justin Gaethje via knockout at UFC 249. It caused him a shot at the title, dropping him to the third rank in the division.
Despite that, Tony Ferguson believes he deserves a chance at the title next. Ferguson insists that Khabib's retirement is not going to make a difference to the path he is charting for himself.
"So, like I said, he can ride off into the sunset, he can do his thing, but I’m not gonna change because somebody else is gone. I have to keep on my path. Props to him for completing his mission for his pops and everything like that, but my family would want me to keep continuing on in my dream and all my stuff and making sure I keep my word against other opponents."
Could we eventually see Tony Ferguson Vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov at the sixth time of asking? UFC fans around the world will certainly hope so.Published 28 Oct 2020, 22:20 IST