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17 Dec, 2019 11:13

'I'm going to hit him especially hard': Khabib Nurmagomedov plans on making up for lost time against Tony Ferguson (VIDEO)

UFC champion Khabib Nurmagomedov recognizes the size of the task awaiting him when he finally steps into the ring against Tony Ferguson in April, but says that he plans on showcasing why is the world's best lightweight fighter.

The two 155lbs standouts are once against set to throw down after no less than FOUR previous bookings between the division's top two fighters fell apart for a variety of reasons, but with his focus firmly fixed on the challenge awaiting him Nurmagomedov says that despite Ferguson's achievements in the cage he remains confident of victory.

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"I always rate my chances higher than those of my opponents since I can't approach a fight with uncertainty," Nurmagomedov said at a recent speaking engagement. "I think I'm a lot better than him at wrestling, I'm much better than him physically. I'm tougher than him, and I haven't lost yet, unlike him.

"Unlike him I haven't been knocked down yet. He has, I believe seven UFC knockdowns, a lot of falls from punches. So I can hit, I'm going to hit him especially hard."

However, unprompted by a specific question from the audience Nurmagomedov also took the opportunity to make clear exactly the threat he will face in New York City next year.

"I think it's probably also right to note his strengths," Khabib announced. "He's also on a good winning streak, he hasn't lost since 2012. He's a very good opponent. In the history of the UFC there's never been a fight between two people with 12 wins in a row. So it will be a big, historic event.

"As an opponent I take him very seriously. I train wherever I am but from January I'll start training hard. If I started intensive training in December it would be wrong because then it would be four months, you can overload. To distribute the load evenly, we'll start in January.

"That's about 100 days of hard training and, as they say, [get] into battle."

The Tony Ferguson fight will represent the closing of a specific chapter of Nurmagomedov's career. The various bookings and repeated cancelations have led to a years-long link between the two fighters as fate conspired to tease - and ultimately take away - what will be, on paper at least, the most competitive fight of the Russian's career to date. After that, Khabib doesn't yet know his next move - but retirement is something which is creeping into his mind.

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"Well, we don't have a plan for when we're going to finish but I do know it is not over the mountains, as they say," he said. "That time is very close.

"I don't want to think about the future, I still have to live to April, I still have to fight, I need to win. So, I don't like to look too far ahead. Now we have an opponent, Tony Ferguson, a very serious opponent. And I think it’s necessary to have this fight then we’ll sit down and think about what’s next.

"We’ll consider whether there’s any point in fighting any more. There will always be a reason to fight – money. But will we need it? We’ll think about it. I feel good now. I'm 31 and it’s a very good age to fight, and for sport. I’m far from retirement age, but it’s around the corner."