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26 Nov, 2019 10:38

'5th time's a charm': UFC boss Dana White targets April for long-awaited showdown between Khabib & Ferguson

'5th time's a charm': UFC boss Dana White targets April for long-awaited showdown between Khabib & Ferguson

After four previous attempts to schedule a fight between UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and top contender Tony Ferguson, UFC president Dana White is attempting to secure an April date for their much-hyped fight.

Speaking with ESPN, White revealed that the organization is targeting April 18 for the fight which is intended to take place in Brooklyn's Barclays Center - the scene of the now infamous 'bus attack' conducted by Conor McGregor on Nurmagomedov and members of his entourage in April last year.

Also on rt.com UFC chief Dana White gives update on Khabib v Ferguson fight as lightweight champ ‘prepares for war’

Khabib's manager, Ali Abdelaziz, announced on social media that his client had signed the bout agreement while ESPN reports that Ferguson has not yet signed, but is expected to do so after negotiations with the UFC continue.

If and when the fight becomes official it will mark the fifth time that the UFC have attempted to book a fight between the two top lightweights. The previous four fight have all fallen apart for a variety of reasons related to injury and weigh cut mishaps.

"Fifth time is the charm," Abdelaziz said. "Tony has been asking for this ass-whipping for a long time, and he deserves it. He's earned it. Khabib wanted this fight, Tony wanted it, the UFC wanted it and the fans wanted it. This fight is for the fans."

Khabib has previously commented that he believes a fight with Tony Ferguson is the "most important fight in UFC", a statement which can be judged as true when you look at both fighters' list of achievements, as well as the almost supernatural number of times in which previous fights between the pair have failed to come to fruition.

The undefeated Dagestan native is a perfect 12-0 in the UFC (28-0 overall) while Ferguson has also won 12 straight at 155lbs and 25 of his 28 fights overall. 

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Most MMA analysts will say that it is this fight - and not a sequel with Conor McGregor - which is the most competitive fight for Nurmagomedov in his weight division. Whereas McGregor represents a much linear challenge on the feet, Ferguson is a fighter with many weapons to his arsenal and perhaps one of the few fighters who won't be averse to Nurmagomedov taking the fight to the canvas.

A student at Eddie Bravo's Tenth Planet Jiu Jitsu, Ferguson is known for his extremely aggressive range of ground attacks and has iterated in the past that he has the necessary skills to submit the UFC champion, even in the area of the fight game in which Khabib is most comfortable.

Khabib will enter the fight having last defeated Dustin Poirier by third-round submission to retain his title in September while Ferguson was last seen in June where he beat Donald Cerrone by doctor stoppage.

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