UFC chief Dana White gives update on Khabib v Ferguson fight as lightweight champ ‘prepares for war’
UFC chief Dana White has confirmed the promotion is aiming for lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov to meet number one contender Tony Ferguson within the first few months of next year.
“We’re trying to make that fight right now, hopefully in March,” White told NESN this week during the build-up to UFC Boston.
Nurmagomedov extended his unbeaten record to 28-0 when he defended his title against interim champ Dustin Poirier at UFC 242 in Abu Dhabi on September 7.
Ferguson is on a 12-fight unbeaten run stretching back to 2013, and last fought against Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone in June, earning a second-round TKO victory.
Nurmagomedov, 31, has been scheduled to face Ferguson, 35, on four previous occasions, although the bout has fallen through each time due to illness or injury to one or other of the pair.Also on rt.com 'March or April in New York': UFC insider suggests Khabib’s planned Russia homecoming for Ferguson bout may not happen (VIDEO)
Dagestani grappler Nurmagomedov has spoken on several occasions about his desire for his next bout to take place in his Russian homeland, even naming the 67,000-seater Gazprom Arena in St. Petersburg as a venue, and stating it will happen in March or April of next year.
More recently, UFC insider Ariel Helwani said that the organization was considering a fight in March or April in New York City.
Nurmagomedov is currently in his homeland and was at the center of fervent media speculation on Thursday when he made a hasty early exit from his own Moscow press conference.Also on rt.com Scandal in Moscow: Khabib walks out of his own press conference before it begins, leaving media outlets empty-handed (VIDEO)
There are reports that the fighter, who is a devout Muslim, was unhappy that he would be seated next the head of a Moscow Brewing Factory which also owns Gorilla Energy Drink – the company which sponsors the UFC lightweight king.
Event organizers insisted however that Nurmagomedov merely left the event for a prior arrangement at the Kremlin.
The Dagestani fighter posted a social media message on Friday of himself wearing a traditional Russian ‘ushanka’ hat, along with the message (in Russian):
“Are you ready for the cold? I once heard that a wise man prepares for war even in times of peace.”
“Have a good day everyone,” he added.
In his latest social media post, Ferguson continued his tactic of baiting Nurmagomedov over his supposed love of tiramisu.
‘El Cucuy’ shared a mocked-up video game sequence of himself setting a trap for Nurmagomedov consisting of the Italian coffee-based dessert.
“60% Of The Time It Works Everytime! # HuntinSeason,”he wrote.
One fighter seemingly out of the title frame at present is Irish megastar Conor McGregor. UFC chief White spoke about the chances of the Irishman taking on Frankie Edgar – a bout which has been heavily rumored in recent days after both fighters signalled their intention to make it happen.
But White poured cold water on the talk, saying: “Frankie Edgar is two weight classes below Conor McGregor… that’s not the fight to make.
“For Frankie to fight Conor makes no sense… For Conor we’ve got Cowboy, we’ve got Justin Gaethje, we’ll see what happens with Nate Diaz and Jorge Masvidal next.”Also on rt.com 'Stop hitting old people and get in line': Khabib tells Conor McGregor what he needs to do to earn rematch (VIDEO)