UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov believes Tony Ferguson is deserving of the next shot at the title. However, he is confident he can get through “El Cucuy” should they face each other next.
Nurmagomedov is set to collide with interim champion Dustin Poirier in a lightweight title unification fight in the main event of UFC 242. That event takes place in Abu Dhabi on September 7. Ferguson, meanwhile, furthered his claim to be the next challenger following an impressive performance against Donald Cerrone at UFC 238 this past weekend.
Many believe Ferguson, currently on a 12-fight win streak, is the best fighter in the division and the toughest task for Nurmagomedov. Here’s what “The Eagle” had to say in response to that, as well as Ferguson’s performance against Cerrone:
“If you watch Tony Ferguson and Dustin Poirier, they are a little bit different [in] style,” Nurmagomedov said in a recent interview with BT Sport. “Dustin is more technical, not bad on the ground. Tony Ferguson not bad on the ground too. But he’s skinny, I’m going to hold him a little bit and finish his energy. People think he can do whatever he wants on standup but even if we talk about him, all [his] fights happened in standup — Pettis, Cowboy, if you watch [the] Kevin Lee fight, he take him [Ferguson] down, he hold him, take his mount.
“But I am much different than Kevin Lee. If Kevin Lee can wrestle one round, I can wrestle five rounds. If you watch how he [Ferguson] fights versus wrestlers, he always has problems. Like Danny Castillo, in my opinion, he beat him 2-to-1 in rounds. … He always have problems against wrestlers. Anyways, tough opponent, he deserves title shot. And to improve my legacy, I have to beat this guy too.”
Hopefully, we finally get to see this fight happen next should Nurmagomedov emerge victorious against Poirier.