‘Ferguson talks too much, that’s why I want to break his face’ – Khabib Nurmagomedov (VIDEO)
Russian MMA fighter Khabib Nurmagomedov says he’s still looking to fight American Tony Ferguson for the interim UFC lightweight championship, and that he sees that bout as potentially one of the best in the promotion's history.
Nurmagomedov stated last week on Russian TV there was a “90 percent probability” that his next fight will be against Ferguson at UFC 209 on March 4.
He later tweeted that Ferguson, his preferred opponent, hadn’t signed the contract yet.
Fight accepted, agreement signed. Waiting for opponent. Announcement soon.— khabib nurmagomedov (@TeamKhabib) December 13, 2016
Я уже принял бой,… https://t.co/1OFpYhAeR1
The Nurmagomedov-Ferguson fight seems logical, as the undefeated Russian currently holds a perfect record of eight UFC wins, while Ferguson has been victorious in his last nine appearances in the octagon.
California native Ferguson has also tweeted about the potential fight, confirming that he agreed to fight Nurmagomedov but there were money issues that were yet to be resolved.
I Agreed To Fight You, Now Need To Agree On Terms... Ball Is In Their Court. Sounds Like They Don't Want You To Lose Bud. https://t.co/F4cl96K5Mk— Tony Ferguson (@TonyFergusonXT) December 14, 2016
Brazilian featherweight Jose Aldo also got in on the act, after hinting to mmafighting.com that Nurmagomedov had turned down a fight against him.
The fighter nicknamed ‘The Eagle’ dismissively responded on Instagram, saying to Aldo that he doesn't “bully the little.”
Aldo says, referring to me, that I refused to fight with him. Tell him that I do not bully the little. I want a real battle, and only Tony can give it to me. At this stage of my career, even if I win Daniel Cormier, fans will say that I have to fight with Tony, and I agree with them. I have spent my career in the UFC asking for the strongest opponents, currently in this division we must decide who is stronger, me or Tony? Without exception, all the fans and experts want to see this fight and I want to give it to them. And you, Aldo, I advise you not to lose the respect of your fans, including me, do not lose your head, do not fall for the mind games of the UFC, and be yourself. ❗ Альдо говорит намекая на меня, что я отказался от боя с ним. Передайте ему, что я маленьких не обижаю. Я хочу реальный бой, и это Тони. На данном этапе моей карьеры если даже я выиграю Даниеля Кормье, фанаты будут говорить, что мне надо подраться с Тони, и я с ними согласен. Я всю свою карьеру в UFC прошу самых сильных соперников, в данный момент в легком весе мне и Тони надо определиться, кто сильнее, я первый номер в рейтинге а Тони второй. Без исключения все фанаты и специалисты хотят этого боя, и я хочу подарить им это. А тебе Альдо я советую не терять уважение от своих фанатов, и в том числе от меня, не теряй голову, не подставляйся под игры UFC, и будь собой. #юфсишныеигрыопятьвтеме @ufc
While visiting St. Petersburg, Russia, on December 17 to provide a master class to local MMA fans and enthusiasts, Dagestan native Nurmagomedov shared his thoughts with RT Sport about his potential next fight.
“UFC asked me about that fight, March 4, UFC 209. I said ‘yes, I want to take this fight’. I want to fight Tony. And everybody in my team [is] waiting for his answer,” he said.
“I think this is real high level fight in lightweight division right now. I think UFC before never make this high level fight because nine-win streak versus eight-win streak. Inside UFC this has never happened [before].
“I think this is a very big fight. And everybody wants to watch this fight. And I want [to] take this fight.
“I think [Ferguson] is a tough fight; good fighter too, tough fighter. Little bit talks too much, that’s why I want to break his face. I like this fight,” Nurmagomedov added.
It’s not a secret that Khabib has a huge following in his home country; his public appearances attract masses of fans who scramble to get a picture with their hero.
With some humility, Nurmagomedov admits that his newfound ‘idol’ status is not something he expected, and acknowledges the responsibility that it brings.
“For me it’s a little bit hard because all the time a lot of people with me, and too much attention,” he told RT Sport.
“But I understand when you all the time win, win, win and when you become a big star you have to stay ready, you have to stay humble and all champions have this problem. I am not [the] first, I am not [the] last. That’s why I feel ok about this.”
While he has long been a hometown hero in Dagestan, the two-time Combat Sambo World Cup gold medallist says he now gets recognized by fans everywhere he travels.
“Now - everywhere. Before only Dagestan, but now – California, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Dagestan, everywhere,” Nurmagomedov said.
“That’s why I have to stay a little bit careful when I talk with media, like everything. I have to stay careful little bit [with] what I say, because a lot of people follow me, a lot of people listen to me. And this is a little bit hard situation for me.”