Islam Makhachev wants Tony Ferguson next.
Following his win over Thiago Moises in the UFC Vegas 31 headliner last night, Makhachev listed off a number of names he was interested in fighting from Rafael dos Anjos to Michael Chandler.
One other name was Ferguson and it’s not only because of his ranking, but rather, the history “El Cucuy” has with Makhachev’s friend and teammate Khabib Nurmagomedov.
“If they were to give me a choice, let’s do it with Tony because we have good history with him,” Makhachev said at the post-fight press conference (via MMA Junkie). “Khabib was supposed to fight with him like five, six times. Let’s finish this, you know. I’m going to finish this.
“I’m going to show Tony not Khabib level. People don’t understand how Khabib pressures. I can’t explain to you guys, but I think you know everything.”
Of course, Ferguson is on a three-fight losing streak and is also 37 years of age. Beating him right now doesn’t prove much, especially as most fans were excited to see him fight Nurmagomedov from 2015 to 2018.
Regardless, if the fight does happen, Makhachev has a chance to beat Ferguson and become a top-five fighter in the process so it’s a win-win regardless.
As for comparisons with Nurmagomedov? Makhachev has no problem with it even if he is a different fighter to the former lightweight king.
“If somebody says I’m almost the same as Khabib, I agree with this,” Makhachev said. “I want to be like Khabib, you know. He’s a great man, he’s champion, he has a lot of money and he has everything, but he’s still a humble guy.
“He’s coming to U.S. without his family. He stays here one, two months to help us. He doesn’t take money, nothing. He just comes and does the whole thing. We came to U.S. and he rent big house for team and a lot of cars for team and nobody pay. He pay for everything. I cannot explain Khabib. He does a lot of stuff, but not everyone knows this.”