Tony Ferguson vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov might be one of the greatest fights that never happened despite the lightweights being booked against each other five separate times.
Ferguson discusses his rivalry with Nurmagomedov as he returns to the welterweight division at UFC 279,. Nurmagomedov retired in 2020, three years after winning his lightweight title.
Despite the undefeated Russian repeatedly stating that his mixed martial arts career is behind him, Ferguson believes he’s the one person who could drag Nurmagomedov back for one more fight to settle some unfinished business.
“I am the one to get him out of retirement,” Ferguson said during UFC 279 media day. “That dude’s not retired.
“When it comes down to it, when you lose somebody, you have to take some time off, you have to think and you have to do whatever you have to do but his father had said the fight to make was myself and Khabib. He did make that statement before he died .”
The tragic passing of Abdulmanap his father in COVID -19 complications a few months before Nurmagomedov’s last fight was a major factor in Nurmagomedov’s decision not to continue his career. Following his win over Justin Gaethje at UFC 254, Nurmagomedov announced his retirement while promising his mother that he was done competing.
Since then, Nurmagomedov has been very busy with Eagle FC fight promotion and transitioning to coaching full-time while also working with athletes like Islam Makhachev.
Ferguson is still confident that Nurmagomedov will return, but at best he would like the opportunity to coach against him in a future season The Ultimate Fighter .
In fact, UFC President Dana White expressed an interest in the coaches of the reality TV show. Ferguson now just needs Nurmagomedov’s acceptance.
“We got the greenlight,” Ferguson revealed. We’re still waiting for Khabib to eat his fat ass. I actually called him Khabib. He was ***?. While we wait for ‘Fathead to show up, I have to tell you that the brass gave us the go ahead and went to talk to them.
“We got the greenlight from his coach. His agent gave us the go ahead. He approaches me and attempts to hug me. His agent was in pink. Funny as f ***. You can spot him anywhere. You can spot him anywhere.
As much as Ferguson wants to coach the show he previously won as a fighter back in 2011, he’s not so sure Nurmagomedov is on board with the idea but he certainly hopes it happens.
“He is the one who’s afraid,” Ferguson stated. “Whether it’s a fight or not, we’ll go and coach and I’m sure we’ll make it entertaining.
“He’ll break before the fighters around that team and I’ve still got some good material that I haven’t used yet so I’m just waiting for that thing.”