Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson will finally share the octagon. Khabib’s manager, Ali Abdelaziz recently posted the signed contract to Instagram to prove that things were a done deal, at least on Khabib’s side. Both fighters have reportedly signed a contract to fight in Brooklyn, on April 18. This is the kind of news that gets the entire MMA community excited, but there’s still some understandable skepticism.
If there was ever a cursed fight, it’s Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Tony Ferguson. The matchup was first made in 2015 and was announced on a yearly basis for the next three years. Each fighter has pulled out for various reasons twice each and the anticipation has been building every time. The most recent attempt was in 2018 when Ferguson pulled out of an Interim title-fight, which Nurmagamedov won against late-replacement Al Iaquinta.
A Dream Matchup
This fight is interesting not least of all because of the stellar records of both fighters: 28-0 for Khabib and 25-3 for Tony. However, there are many who feel that Ferguson proves the last real challenge for Khabib in the entire division since he demolished Dustin Poirier.
There are not many lightweights with the grappling acumen to stay standing in the face of Khabib’s relentless pressure and elite chain wrestling. As stacked as the entire division is, it is oddly barren of high level grapplers, in stark contrast to featherweight or welterweight.
Ferguson stands out as a high level BJJ blackbelt under Eddie Bravo with solid wrestling to boot. He is known for his high work rate off of his back and fantastic submission offense. Not only submissions, but nasty, slicing elbows are a constant threat as he leaves most opponents covered in blood.
Immovable Object vs. Unstoppable Force
This fight is more than a dream technical matchup. It is a clash of opposing forces. Khabib is known for being methodical and unstoppable. He wears his opponents down with grinding pressure against the fence and seemingly endless cardio. There is a constant sense the Khabib has his opponents controlled from the moment they hit the ground until the inevitable victory.
Ferguson, technical though he may be, is a chaotic and unpredictable fighter. He rolls for legs, hits spinning elbows, and catches his signature d’arce choke from anywhere. He has been known to mix in unorthodox techniques often, switching to wing chun-style striking to throw his opponents off and the use of his legendary combat roll when he gets rocked.
The stakes for this fight have risen every time, now we’re looking at the first time that two fighters on 10+ fight winning streaks have met in the UFC. This is quite literally the biggest fight that the UFC can make right now, and that’s not hyperbole.