Undefeated lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov took to the airwaves going into his title unification bout against Justin Gaethje at UFC 254. ‘The Eagle’ spoke to ESPN’s Brett Okamoto and shared his views on his divisional rival in Tony Ferguson. The two elite 155-pound fighters have a storied history but unfortunately never been able to actualize their professional rivalry.
Chiefly, Tony Ferguson suffered a devastating loss earlier in the year to Justin Gaethje for the interim championship. Moreover, the fight was actually supposed to be the fifth booking of Khabib vs Tony before the COVID-19 pandemic struck. Ferguson’s 12-fight unbeaten run was sliced apart by Gaethje, who walked away with Tony’s title opportunity.
Khabib Nurmagomedov chimes in on his rival
‘The Eagle’ had plenty to say when breaking down Tony Ferguson’s fight against Justin back in May 2020. Khabib performed a detailed analysis on his game plan when facing ‘The Highlight’ and his inability to impose his will.
“Tony Ferguson made surgery on his left leg, right? Yes. If you give him like the beginning of the fight a couple of good leg kicks, fights over. And when fight beginning, Tony Ferguson beginning fight in southpaw. But Tony is not southpaw.”
“And okay, first-round finish and after Ferguson become a little bit nervous because his plan is not working. Second round not working, end of the round he given him good shot and after third round, it was finished.”
Not to mention, the 28-0 champion also gave Justin Gaethje credit for having the right game plan when fighting Ferguson. Justin showed some major elevation to his approach and tackled the wide array of problems that Tony brought forth.
“Justin understands much faster than him. He have a very hard kick, very hard punch. Everywhere, Tony Ferguson can take him down. He fight very smart, give him a couple of hard punch and end of the fifth round he finished him.”
There is no doubt that fight fans were taken aback when they say ‘El Cucuy’ finally looks beatable under the bright lights. Tony ran through top lightweights for several years at a stretch and accrued some massive wins on his resume. He will look to wipe away the events that unfolded at UFC 249 and charter a new path back towards UFC gold.
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