Undermining Tony Ferguson for potential Conor McGregor vs Khabib Nurmagomedov rematch might not be a good idea
However, it wrongfully puts Tony Ferguson in a position where the UFC 249 headliner looks like an assured victory for Khabib. The idea has floated around ever since McGregor knocked out Donald Cerrone in 40 seconds at UFC 246, on his emphatic return to the octagon. Dana White suggested the idea of a rematch between Khabib and Conor in the post-match press conference at UFC 246 and has ever since stuck with the same plan. Unfortunately, Ferguson's inclusion in Khabib's next title defense has taken a backseat after the anticipation surrounding Conor McGregor's return to UFC.
It's been long debated that Tony Ferguson can beat Khabib Nurmagomedov, courtesy his unorthodox fighting style and high profile wrestling credentials. Khabib remains undefeated in his illustrious MMA career with notable wins over Dustin Poirier, Edson Barboza, former champion Rafael Dos Anjos, and Conor McGregor.
Interestingly enough, Tony Ferguson stands as the next best lightweight contender in UFC. He is currently enjoying a 13 fight win-streak, similar to Khabib Nurmagomedov inside UFC. He will be competing in his second championship fight, after an impressive win against Kevin Lee at UFC 216 for the lightweight interim gold.
Khabib's camp on Tony Ferguson
Tony Ferguson is a true warrior inside the octagon. Ferguson is terrifying inside the octagon, and the nickname El Cucuy solidifies his accomplishments in the UFC. He has incredible cardio and the spirit of a fighter who is always at the opponent's face, ready to exchange strikes.
“It was planned four times and called off twice because of Khabib and twice because of Tony. Millions of fans are waiting for it. There’s never been anything like this in UFC history. It’s the most important fight in UFC history. It’s important not only for me but for my republic, my country, and all our supporters.”
Khabib's father Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov said on the UFC 249 main-event. It's clear how spectacular this match-up is going to be for all MMA fans. For the first time, two fighters with the distinction of having not lost a single fight in their last 13 UFC appearances speaks a lot about the high stakes on this match-up. Khabib's camp has repeatedly opened up about Ferguson's credibility as a fighter.
Ferguson can beat Khabib Numragomedov
In a media interaction with @SayNoTo5G1 on Twitter, Nurmagomedov’s father shared the following response on the kind of threat that Ferguson poses in front of Khabib Nurmagomedov.
“I doubt it. In a potential fight with Gaethje, in a matter of 12-13 minutes, it will be clear who’ll win the fight. With Ferguson, we might have to go twenty-five minutes to determine that.”
With a variety of deadly moves in his arsenal, Ferguson remains a potential threat to Khabib's undefeated streak. If one was to look back at some of Ferguson's finest performances inside the octagon, his performance against Anthony Pettis at UFC 229 stands untouched.
Ferguson used his elbows, punches, and put up an impressive ground game after getting rocked early in the second round. The fight also marked Ferguson's return to UFC after a year-long hiatus due to injury. The fight also received the Fight of the Night award in the same card that was headlined by Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Amidst all the hype surrounding Conor McGregor's spectacular return to UFC and speculation of his next fight, both MMA fans and Dana White might be overlooking Tony Ferguson. He is brilliant on his feet and equally impressive on the ground. Ferguson is better off his back and has often used it to his advantage by using his elbows to attack the opponents on top of him. He is an elite wrestler but mostly relies on his BJJ skills to submit his opponent for the victory. And he has done the same in the past against the likes of Kevin Lee and Gleison Tibau.
Ferguson is also an impressive striker and generally makes his opponent bleed, courtesy his sharp elbows. He is quick and has a very unorthodox approach to his boxing stance. Ferguson is hard to predict and remains active throughout the entire fight. It will be interesting to see if Khabib can get past someone as tough as Ferguson.
Only then should the promotion consider promoting the potential rematch between Nurmagomedov and McGregor. However, a non-title match if Tony Ferguson emerges victorious also sounds interesting.Published 08 Feb 2020, 18:31 IST