Once again, the UFC has booked a matchup between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson.
The pair will headline an April 18 show on pay-per-view (PPV) from Brooklyn, New York. Nurmagomedov puts his lightweight strap up for grabs against Ferguson, who is on a 12-fight win streak at the moment. This is the fifth time the UFC has made the matchup, each time previous eventually falling through due to injury (twice each has pulled after getting hurt).
Now, the UFC is hoping the fifth time’s a charm, and according to Khabib’s father, Abdulmanap, speaking to RT Sport, it is a massively important event for the sport of MMA.
“Because this isn’t the first attempt, I think it is one of the most important events in this sport,” Abdulmanap said. “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 is important not only for me but for my republic, my country, and all our supporters.”
Abdulmanap also teased that Khabib might surprise people with his evolved striking game under American Kickboxing Academy’s (AKA) Javier Mendez, however, he won’t stray too far from the usual gameplan set by himself nonetheless.
“Throughout all this time we were able to improve our skills in different aspects, especially striking technique,” Nurmagomedov said. “We surprise [opponents] more and more each time. Javier [Mendez] promises to surprise this time but Khabib won’t stray from his father’s plan.”
Abdulmanap seems to have a healthy respect for what Ferguson can do inside the Octagon, pointing to the several different ways “El Cucuy” has earned victory as of late. Abdulmanap dubbed Ferguson a “worthy” opponent and suggested the training camp for him will reflect as much.
“First of all, he’s got good endurance, a good winning streak,” Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov said. “He’s been caught, but he finishes all his fights with submissions, cuts or technical knockouts. He has a good arsenal, he is a worthy opponent and we are preparing accordingly.”
Who are you picking in Nurmagomedov vs. Ferguson? Do you think the fight will actually happen this time?