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11 May, 2020 09:51

'Heads up Tony': Khabib Nurmagomedov sends message of support to Tony Ferguson after UFC 249

'Heads up Tony': Khabib Nurmagomedov sends message of support to Tony Ferguson after UFC 249

UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov sent a message of support to longtime rival Tony Ferguson following "El Cucuy's" stoppage loss to Justin Gaethje on Saturday night.

Nurmagomedov was originally set to face Ferguson in the main event of UFC 249, but the COVID-19 outbreak saw the event moved from its original date and location of Brooklyn on April 18 to Jacksonville on May 9.

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But, with transport restrictions preventing Khabib from traveling, the UFC had to switch gears, and drafted in Gaethje to face Ferguson in an interim title fight instead.

It meant the long-awaited and much-anticipated battle between Khabib and Ferguson had fallen through for an incredible FIFTH time, and left the Russian world champion sitting at home watching as Ferguson and Gaethje battle it out for the interim belt, and the chance to face Khabib later this year.

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In the fight itself, Gaethje produced a stellar performance to stop Ferguson in the fifth round of a back-and-forth battle to capture the interim belt and position himself as the No. 1 contender to face Khabib next. It also meant that the matchup between Khabib and Ferguson now looks dead – at least for the time being.

After the fight, the UFC lightweight champ took to Twitter to send a message of support to his longtime rival, saying that Ferguson's son would be proud of his performance.

"Whatever happened is in the past. Heads up Tony, I hope everything is good with you and your family. When your son grow up, he’ll be proud with you. @TonyFergusonXT"

Khabib is targeting a summer return once he has completed Ramadan and returned to full training, and it seems his next challenge will now come from Gaethje, not Ferguson, with the heavy-handed former collegiate wrestler set to pose arguably the most dangerous challenge to "The Eagle's" championship reign to date.

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