Khabib Nurmagomedov Confirms He Is Forced To Withdraw From Tony Ferguson Fight

It’s official, Khabib Nurmagomedov v Tony Ferguson is the most cursed fight in history. First, the pair were booked to fight all the way back in 2015 before Nurmagomedov had to withdraw due to an injury suffered in the lead up to the fight. When the fight was rescheduled for the middle of 2016 everything looked good, until Ferguson took his turn to cancel the fight, citing a lung issue as the main cause. Both men went on to take other fights after this and to the surprise of absolutely nobody, both men kept on winning.

In the meantime, Conor Mcgregor had become the UFC Lightweight Champion and run away to box Floyd Mayweather. This created the space for an Interim Lightweight Title bout between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson, this was finally booked for UFC 209 in 2017. The third attempt seemed to be going smoothly until the very last week leading up to the fight, when Nurmagomedov suffered an illness related to a difficult weight-cut. Ferguson did go on to fight for and win the Interim Lightweight Title against Kevin Lee while Nurmagomedov had one of his best performances against Edson Barboza.

With both men now showing long histories of dominance in the Lightweight division, the fight was booked for a fifth time in 2018 and McGregor was due to be stripped of his title so that these two could fight for the real thing. Then the unbelievable happened and Tony Ferguson fell over a cable during filming and suffered a pretty serious knee injury in the final week of the event. Ferguson and McGregor were both stripped of their titles and Nurmagomedov would win the Lightweight Championship by beating Al Iaquinta instead.

Since then, Nurmagomedov proved the legitimacy of his title-reign by finishing Conor McGregor without much trouble and then went on to defend his title against Dustin Poirier in another excellent showing. At the same time Ferguson recovered quickly and rattled off two victories over elite contenders, Anthony Pettis and Donald Cerrone. This set the stage for arguably the last challenge left for Khabib Nurmagomedov and the biggest challenge to date for Tony Ferguson: finally fighting each other at UFC 249 on April 18th.

But now it seems like the MMA gods are really pulling out all of the stops, this time they’ve sent a global pandemic to close the show. Dana White even announced that he would cancel three whole events but refused to cancel this fight. Despite White’s best efforts and determination to see this fight through even if it meant finding a whole new venue on less than a month’s notice, Nurmagomedov finally called the time of death for the matchup in the below Instagram post:

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Staying home in quarantine and reading the reaction of people to the situation around my fight, it turns out that the whole world should be in quarantine, governments of all countries, famous people around the world urge people to follow all safety requirements in order to limit the spread of the disease, to save people, and Khabib is the only one relieved of all obligations and must demonstrate free will and train flying around the world, for the sake of fight? – I understand everything and I’m definitely upset more than you to cancel the fight, probably like all others, I had many plans after the fight, but I can’t control it all. The greatest countries and the largest companies of our time are shocked by what is happening, every day the situation changes unpredictably. But Khabib still has to fight, is that what you saying? – Take care of yourself and put yourself in my shoes. – ???? Сижу дома на карантине и читаю реакцию людей на ситуацию вокруг моего боя, получается весь мир должен сидеть на карантине, правительства всех стран и известные люди всего мира призывают людей соблюдать требования безопасности, чтоб ограничить распространение болезни ради спасения людей, а Хабиб, освобождён от всех обязательств и должен демонстрировать свободу воли и тренироваться летая по всему миру рискуя своей жизнью ради боя ? – Я все понимаю и точно не меньше вас расстроен отменой боя, наверно у меня , как и у всех других, было много планов после боя, но я не в силах контролировать все это. Сверх державы и крупнейшие компании нашего времени в шоке от того, что происходит, каждый день ситуация меняется непредсказуемо. Но Хабиб все равно должен драться, так получается? – Берегите себя и поставьте себя на мое место.

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Alex Lindsey

Alex Lindsey is the managing editor here at Grappling Insider. Originally starting training in MMA in 2008, injuries and university slowed progress until he decided to put on a gi for the first time back in 2015. Residing in Newport, South Wales, he trains at Newport MMA and competes as much as possible but still prefers no gi.

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