Tony Ferguson. Khabib Nurmagomedov. 2 of the brightest and most gifted fighters to ever grace the octagon. 2 absolute killers on separate paths of destruction. 2 of the Lightweights and fighters to ever compete in MMA. They both had great starts to their respective careers in the. When they first started making noise in the UFC, they had compiled impressive victories over some notable names. It was August 2015, when this matchup was first getting talked about. Uncle Dana made this fight that month and year between a 22-0 (6-0 in the UFC) Khabib and a 19-3 Tony who was on a 6 fight win streak in the UFC.
Oct. 30, 2015: A rib injury suffered in training forces Khabib out of the bout. The Dagestani grappler takes to Instagram to apologize to fans in a post that says, “I’m not sure if I will ever come back.”
Thats 1. A broken rib will do that, robbed us of a spectacular matchup of 2 top lightweight contenders. Moving on, Uncle Dana sets up this matchup again after Tony beats the living daylights out of Khabib’s replacement in December 2015. Uncle Dana announces a number 1 contenders fight for the Lightweight championship in April 2016 would take place, with the winner earning the right to face the winner of Conor Mcgregor vs Rafael Dos Anjos.
April 5, 2016: Ferguson is the one dropping out on Khabib this time, citing an issue with his lung. “I Will Heal Up,” he wrote on Twitter. “I Will be Back.”
Thats 2. I mean i gueeesss your lung filling up with fluid is a decent reason to not fight. On 11 days notice, Khabib finds a replacement, and, well as you can see there is a pattern here, also beats the living daylights out of him, Darrell Horcher. Jesus christ man. SO, after they both have fights against other people in 2016, dominating respectively of course, this fight is again booked for the THIRD time in January 2017, after a month long money/contract problem with Tony refusing to sign the fight due to Khabib making more than him. Rightfully so IMO as Khabib is a global superstar and is a king in Russia. Its booked for the third time for the Interim Lightweight title, while McGregor pursued fighting Floyd Mayweather in boxing. So finally, co main event on a PPV UFC 209 in Vegas, 2 of the best fighting for the interim title. What could go wrong? It’s Friday the day before the fight.
March 3, 2017: The fight is canceled yet again, this time after Khabib is hospitalized prior to weigh-ins with what’s described as “weight management issues.” Uncle Dana blasts the Khabib’s team for not addressing the issue through the promotion’s in-house medical staff. “They went rogue and went out and did their own thing, Had they done this thing the right way, the fight probably could have been saved.” Ferguson takes the latest cancellation more gracefully, tweeting out praise for Khabib and hoping he gets better.
Thats 3. My lord, thats strike 3, idk if this bout can happen ever again many MMA fans wondered. The day before the fight, weigh in day, what a disaster man. Too short for Tony to fight a replacement too. I mean how can this happen? OH, that’s right. 3 days later, Tony sees footage of Khabib eating Tira fucking Misu!!! What the fuck?!! I kinda am happy this happened, Tony now calls Khabib and his team, Team Tiramisu and it makes me chuckle. But goddam, you’re cutting weight and your eating a dessert Khabib???
Moving forward to October 2017, where Tony Ferguson makes Kevin Lee tap and wins the Interim Lightweight Championship, Tony reaches a proverbial mountain top. He proceeds to call out Conor. MOVING ON, Khabib absolutely decimates Edson Barboza in December to move to 25-0 and calls for Tony or Conor.
For the 4TH TIME, this fight is booked for April 2018 in Brooklyn in the main event of UFC 223 for the world Lightweight championship. Finally, after 3 failed attempts and 3 years of bullshit, one of the biggest fights in history is ON!
April 1, 2018: No joke, the fight is off. Again. I know i know, this sounds like a joke. Nope, Tony Ferguson TRIPPED over a wire from a camera crew and TORE HIS FUCKING KNEE UP. You literally couldn’t even make this up. Ferguson requires surgery on his lateral collateral ligament, and Khabib instead gets 145-pound champ Holloway. That fight is also canceled due to weight cutting issues and Khabib defends and defeats Al Iaquinta for the vacant world title.
Thats 4. Uncle Dana says he’ll never make this fight again. Fast forward a year and a half and Tony has rattled off 2 impressive performances over legends Anthony Pettis and Cowboy Cerrone, winning by corner stoppage in both. FINALLY, THE PATH IS CLEAR. “MAKE THE FIGHT UNCLE DANA”, screams every hardcore MMA fan on earth.
For the 5th TIME, this fight is booked. This time for Brooklyn, in April 2020, UFC 249 for the undisputed Lightweight championship of the world. I mean can you believe this? I was going to buy tickets with my brother and 2 friends for this fight. Arguably the biggest fight in the HISTORY of MMA. Khabib. Tony. 28-0 vs 25-3. Khabib with a perfect record. Tony hasn’t lost since 2012. I mean are you serious??
March 30, 2020: It appears as though the highly-anticipated Khabib vs. Ferguson fight is on the verge of not happening … again.
Khabib, on an Instagram live chat, confirmed he is back home in Dagestan, Russia, but is now unable to leave to compete on April 18 against Ferguson at UFC 249 because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the travel bans that have closed borders across the world.
Thats 5. Are. You. Kidding. Me. What a wild turn of events. I’ll never stop hoping for this fight. 5 times. This, to me, is one of the CRAZIEST stories in the history of sports. 2 of the best fighters to ever be alive, in their primes, on insane win streaks, have been somehow stopped 5 times from fighting eachother. A curse? some might say so. A highly highly highly unlikely case of events? You betcha.
I do believe this fight will be re booked for a 6th time. Why? Well if you’ve read this far then you should know why. These are 2 of the all time greatest fighters this world has ever seen. A disdain for eachother. 5 years in the making, rises perpendicular with one another. Title holders, etc. This is THE fight in combat sports. Not Jon jones, not Conor Mcgregor, not Israel Adesanya, etc. THIS is it. Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Tony Ferguson for the Lightweight Championship of the world is it. It’s everything to my fellow hardcore fans out there. It’s everything to me, and one day this world will be blessed with this fight. I think they fight 3 times before they hang it up with Tony winning this. But, only time will tell folks. In the meantime, patience will be tested. Take a look at this long and storied rivalry of staredowns.