‘I’m going to make him p*ss blood’: Ferguson claims he’s already ‘in Khabib’s head’ as mind games begin ahead of April showdown
Both fighters signed off on the paperwork last week for their long-awaited showdown, which will be the UFC’s fifth attempt to get them in the octagon together.
It will be one of the most anticipated match-ups in MMA history, pitting unbeaten lightweight ruler Khabib against ‘El Cucuy’ – a man on a 12-fight win streak.
The pair know each other well, having faced off to fight on four previous occasions, only for injury or illness to one or other scuppering the bout each time.
They are now scheduled to meet on April 18 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
Speaking on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show on Monday night, Ferguson suggested he had wanted an earlier date, but that Khabib was “still on his world tour, kissing babies” after defending his title against Dustin Poirier in Abu Dhabi in September.
“You’re going to have to ask the UFC [why the fight is in April],” Ferguson told Helwani, as reported by MMA Junkie.
“Khabib is still on his world tour. He’s doing things, kissing babies and doing all that fun stuff. Who cares? You know who I am. You know I’m ready for February.
“I was ready to take another opponent if they were going to pull some crazy stuff. But everything worked out. We’ve got until April.”Also on rt.com Trumpets, babies & cavalcades: Watch Khabib get mobbed as he arrives in Uzbekistan ahead of cousin’s fight
Ferguson, whose last octagon outing was a second-round TKO victory against Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone back in June, has repeatedly aimed digital digs at Khabib, a man he nicknames “tiramisu” for his supposed love of the coffee-based dessert.
He claimed to be winning the mind games before the UFC has even officially announced the fight between the pair.
“I’m in this dude’s head,” the 35-year-old said. “He’s looking at me. He’s going to train so hard.
“He’s going to be so nervous he’s going to make a mistake. I’m going to capitalize on that. I’m going to catch him during the scrambles. Scrambled eggs, baby.
“I’m going to make him piss blood. I owe him two to the chops, and he owes me 20 push-ups. This guy’s got an issue, and his name is Tony Ferguson. And I’m coming after him.
“It’s hunting season, baby.”Also on rt.com 'Cooking with Khabib': Ferguson trolls UFC rival with tiramisu tweet (VIDEO)
It was typically bravado stuff from former interim lightweight champ Ferguson, who has every right to be confident given that he is unbeaten in 12 bouts since 2013.
Many see his well-rounded yet unorthodox approach as providing the biggest challenge to date for Khabib in his unbeaten, 28-fight pro career.
As Ferguson suggested, the Dagestani destroyer, 31, has indeed been on his travels, recently heading to Central Asia and the Middle East.Also on rt.com 'On my way to the legacy': Khabib Nurmagomedov shadowboxes and rides a camel in Abu Dhabi ahead of Tony Ferguson clash (VIDEO)
He recently shared footage of himself shadow boxing on an Abu Dhabi beach, while on Monday he was back in his Dagestani homeland to open a new academy set up in his and his father’s name.
However, ‘The Eagle’ has frequently asserted he continues to maintain a strict training routine, which he will step up closer to the fight.
He will likely need to be in the shape of his life to take on the dangerous Ferguson, a man with no shortage of confidence in his own ability.