Good news for fight fans! The seemingly cursed fight between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson is being targeted once again by Dana White. The two UFC lightweight’s have been matched up five times in the last five years. The fight has of course fallen through every time in the most unfortunate and bizarre circumstances.
Back in December 2015, you’ll remember these two were meant to scrap it out at The Ultimate Fighter 22 Finale. Nurmagomedov was of course forced to withdraw due to injury. The UFC rescheduled the fight for April, only for the fight to be called off once again. This time, however, Ferguson was the reason due to a medical issue. The two titans ran through and defeated the other fighters on the roster. They were swiftly rescheduled for the third time for the interim title at UFC 209. Once again, the fight was called off with Nurmagomedov failing to cut weight. White and the UFC booked the fight again for the undisputed lightweight title at UFC 223.
The divisions two best fighters were finally going to fight it out and settle the rivalry. Or so everyone thought. Ferguson unfortunately tripped on a cable during his media run and blew his knee out a week before the fight. Al Iaquinta faced off against Nurmagomedov instead, and the Russian won the undisputed title via an unanimous decision win.
Tony Ferguson miraculously bounced back from injury and defeated Anthony Pettis at UFC 229, continuing his impressive 12-fight UFC win streak. Khabib continued his undefeated run and the two looked like they were destined to meet in a clash for the ages. So, with one final throw of the dice, White and the UFC booked Nurmagomedov vs Ferguson for UFC 249. Shortly after, the world descended into chaos as the COVID-19 pandemic swooped across the globe. Nurmagomedov was trapped in Russia as a result, and the fight was ditched once again.
Tony Ferguson, after bizarrely putting himself through 2 weight-cuts in a month, fought and lost to Justin Gaethje at UFC 249. Gaethje became the UFC interim-lightweight champion in front of no crowd and was next in line for Nurmagomedov. Ferguson’s 12-fight win streak was snapped, and his golden ticket to an undisputed title shot seemed lost for good.
However, Dana White has recently given the cursed fight a lifeline. The tempting of the apocalyptic wrath of the MMA Gods continues. (H/T Sports Illustrated)
“If Khabib does beat Gaethje, you get Tony Ferguson another fight, which we’re working on right now,” White told Sports Illustrated. “And hopefully that fight with Khabib happens because I know people want to see it.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen a fight fall apart as many times as those two. It almost scares me to make the fight again. What’s going to happen? An asteroid comes to earth? That’s the level of bad this thing is.”
White clearly recognises that the hunger for the fight amongst fans is enough to warrant another rescheduling. Despite Ferguson losing, this is the fight to make. Although, White has been recently adamant that Conor McGregor is the next-in-line for Nurmagomedov. However, due to White’s recent spat with McGregor, it seems the organisation is moving in a different direction. McGregor has been very active on social media recently. The Irishman has even taken on the promotional cap by trying to book a charity exhibition fight with Dustin Poirier, without the UFC. White is adamant that McGregor is retired, and is simply baffled by what has transpired.
“This was a weird one,” White said. “This was weirder and different than anything he’s done before. There’s almost a pattern here. When we’re about to do a massive fight—and Israel Adesanya broke a ton of records last week in a global, massive fight—the day before that fight, he starts announcing he’s going to fight this guy and that guy. It’s almost like stealing Adesanya’s thunder. But he does it every time there’s a big fight.”
Khabib isn’t interested in a rematch with McGregor. Khabib vs Gaethje will take place on October 24th at UFC 254. Khabib recently revealed that Dana White has promised him “something special” for his next bout. Rumours suggest that it’s a superfight with UFC legend Georges St. Pierre, but maybe it’s a final match-up with rival Tony Ferguson. Maybe Khabib could go 30-0 in front of a Russian audience?
Do you want Dana White to book Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Tony Ferguson again?