Khabib vs. McGregor in Boxing?
By: Michael Kane
Conor McGregor fought UFC Lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov in October, and was convincingly defeated. McGregor would like a rematch and so it seems would Khabib Nurmagomedov’s father.
Only next time in a boxing ring.
After the Dagestani’s win, he called out Floyd Mayweather, Mayweather said the fight may happen and that he could make more money fighting Khabib than he did when he beat McGregor in the 10th round last year.
The rumours on this potential match up have gone quiet and now it seems Khabib and his team still fancy a boxing bout against his old foe, McGregor.
Whether this would hold much appeal to boxing aficionados around the world is debatable however, could it launch the much talked about entrance to the boxing world of Zuffa Boxing?
Speaking to Russian newspaper, Izvestia, Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov said, “As for the fight against Conor under boxing rules, this is a fight we are interested in. Khabib showed that he is able to beat the best strikers of mixed martial arts.
“He said this before, but few believed it. However, after strong victories over Michael Johnson, Edson Barboza and Conor, people begin to believe.”
Nurmagomedov knocked McGregor to the canvas in the second round of their bout at UFC 229 and may have taken some confidence that He could out strike the Irishman.
“Nurmagomedov is able to do it in the boxing ring. Khabib has all the skills to win by the rules of boxing. One of the key skills can be called endurance.
“I remember his five round fight with (Al) Iaquinta, in which Khabib showed his willingness to fight in absolutely any area, using everything from a left jab to control on the ground. I want to note that the fight against Iaquinta was of great importance to us, there was a belt at stake and it was important to keep the bout calm and take the win. Which we did!”
Dana White Says Mayweather Can Only Fight Khabib in Octagon
By: Sean Crose
With talk of a Floyd Mayweather-Khabib Numragomedov fight making the rounds, UFC president Dana White has made it clear that he’s in no mood for a rehash of Mayweather’s 2017 novelty superfight with UFC star Conor McGregor. “Listen,” White told TMZ, “if Mayweather wants to fight, come fight. You fight in the UFC. We’re not boxing him. We did that once. That’s over.” Although McGregor looked decent enough for his much hyped fight with Mayweather, the longtime pound for pound great ended up making easy work of the MMA star.
Now that Khabib himself has bested McGregor – in McGregor’s home sport, no less, it’s obvious White isn’t going to withstand another of his top UFC fighters bucking the odds the way McGregor did when he temporarily switched sports over a year ago. “You want to fight,” White reiterated, “you come fight . A real fight.” White’s words echoed McGregor’s own sentiments about boxing in the leadup to the Mayweather match, when the Irishman referred to boxing as half a fight.
As TMZ states: “UFC welterweight champ Tyron Woodley has offered to personally train Floyd and said he truly believes the 41-year-old could have real success in the Octagon.” While that may be true, Mayweather has a reputation – fair or not – of stacking the odds in his favor before a major bout. What’s more, Mayweather, now in his fifth decade, has only boxed throughout his long, undefeated career. Perhaps even more telling, however, is the fact that – unlike McGregor – Khabib doesn’t employ a style similar to boxing in the MMA octagon. Within the cage, the Russian is regarded as a world class wrestler, possessing an impressive skill set which might not lend itself well to the boxing ring.
Although he suggested boxing doesn’t allow combatants to engage in “a real fight,” White himself is interested in getting into the boxing business. “Yeah, we’re getting into boxing 100%, for sure,” he told TMZ. “I’m not diving in head first; I’m dipping my toe in.” With that in mind, TMZ reports that “Floyd has said he’s 70% certain the two sides will get a deal done to box — he expects to make a 9-FIGURE CHECK if it comes to fruition.” Other fighters have been mentioned as potential Mayweather opponents, though – including McGregor (again) and Mayweather arch rival Manny Pacquiao. Pacquiao, in particular, looks as if he might be particularly keen on a rematch of his record breaking 2015 fight with Mayweather.
Canelo Responds To Kahbib-Mayweather Rumors With Challenge To Rematch Floyd
By: Sean Crose
After demolishing the UFCs biggest star, Conor McGregor, in an MMA superfight, UFC lightweight champ Khabib Nurmagomedov recently called out Floyd Mayweather. Mayweather, who handily bested McGregor in a ring before Khabib did in an octagon, has responded. “Oh, we fighting!” the world’s favorite retired fighter told TMZ (provided Khabib is truly interested). “I can’t say what’s going on on Khabib’s end. But, on my end, we can make it happen.” As with McGregor, Khabib would have to face Mayweather in the ring, should they actually meet. “He called me out,” said Mayweather, “so, he gotta come to my world.”
Mayweather recently said he was going to have a second fight with Manny Pacquiao. Perhaps the rematch is now on the back burner, however. Khabib would surely be an easier fight for Floyd than Pacquiao would be – at least on paper. McGregor, who decided to have his first boxing match against the greatest fighter of a generation, at least had a reputation as a solid striker. That isn’t the case with Khabib, a deadly wrestler who wrapped himself like a snake around McGregor until the Irishman tapped out earlier this month. Mayweather, however, claims he can still make nine figures off a fight with Khabib.
One person who is particularly critical of Mayweather’s recent choice of (potential) opponents is none other than former foe Canelo Alvarez. Since losing a nearly one sided decision to Mayweather in 2013, Canelo has risen to the top of the fight game. This fact was made loud and clear on Wednesday, when it was announced that the middleweight champ had signed the most lucrative contract in all of sports with DAZN streaming service. “He wants to continue hurting boxing,” TMZ shows the Mexican star saying of Mayweather, “by making fights that don’t make sense … and not giving boxing the credibility it deserves.”
Perhaps not surprisingly, Canelo wants a second shot at Mayweather. “If he wants to return,” Canelo says, “I ask him to look my way to give a great fight to the fans.” There’s no doubt a second battle with Mayweather would be extraordinarily lucrative for all parties involved. Yet the 2018 version of Canelo unquestionably poses a greater threat to the aging Mayweather than Khabib, McGregor, or perhaps even Pacquiao does. “Let’s do the second fight,” Canelo claims. “It’s very important. We have something pending there, so let’s make the second fight.”
Mayweather Weighs In On McGregor-Khabib Fiasco
By: Sean Crose
Conor McGregor lost his second fight in a row last weekend, if you count his boxing match last year against Floyd Mayweather. This time, however, McGregor was back on his home turf, out of the ring and inside the cage where UFCs best prove their mettle. It was a one sided affair, with Russian lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov dominating his foe throughout most of the match before forcing the Irish star to tap out in the fourth round. No doubt it was a brilliant performance from Khabib. Unfortunately, the wrestler afterwards jumped out of the cage and attacked a member of McGregor’s team. Needless to say chaos ensued.
It’s easy for boxing fans to shake their collective heads at the supposed barbarity of the UFC, but boxing has earned quite a reputation of its own when it comes to combat sport’s insanity. As bad as last weekend was, at least no one lost an ear. One boxer is particularly qualified to talk about combat sport chaos. For Mayweather’s bout with Zab Judah famously turned chaotic when it went down back in 2006. “I’m not too familiar with the guy McGregor was fighting,” Mayweather is quoted as saying in regards to last weekend’s madness, “but I know the guy he was facing was undefeated.” Mayweather went on to condemn Saturday’s post fight action. “McGregor is a tough competitor,” he claimed, “but McGregor’s opponent jumped out of the ring and was fighting people in the crowd so, very unprofessional.”
Mayweather was notably cool when insanity erupted around him in the ring over a decade ago. He also knows, from facing McGregor, what it’s like to deal with the man’s taunts (it was the taunts that apparently took Khabib over the edge). Unlike Khabib, however, Mayweather remained sportsmanlike after defeating the controversial mma celebrity. “It’s going to be a huge fine,” Mayweather said of the penalties awaiting those involved in the McGregor-Khabib fracas. “I’m pretty sure because with my fight against Zab Judah, there was a crazy melee in the ring and a huge penalty – a huge fine. If I’m not mistaken, seven figures.”
Like McGregor, Mayweather knows how to get under the skin of an opponent. One thing the man has long been noted for, however, is discipline and self control when being under the bright lights. “I know when a guy’s jumping out of the cage into the audience and fighting different people,” Mayweather stated, “the fine is going to be crazy.”
Khabib’s Explosion: Was it Unexpected and Justified?
By: William Holmes
“This is respect sport….This is not trash-talking sport…I don’t want people talk shit about opponents, talk shit about his father, religion. You cannot talk about religion. You cannot talk about nation. Guys, you cannot talk about this stuff.”-Khabib Nurmagomedov
The talk of the combat sporting world this weekend was the Khabib vs. Conor McGregor UFC fight, which featured Khabib picking McGregor apart before submitting him in the fourth round, then suddenly jumping out of the octagon cage and into the crowd to attack Dillon Danis, a member of McGregor’s team who was sitting cage side and allegedly taunting Khabib.
Chaos ensued afterwards and members of Khabib’s team jumped in the cage to attack McGregor. Suspensions will likely be given out, loss of purse and titles are also a possibility.
The sports world was divided. Were Khabib’s actions justified? Were his actions unexpected?
In order to attempt to understand Khabib, one first has to understand his background and where he is from, something that he was evidently trying to explain in his post fight explanation.
Khabib is from Dagestan, a Russian republic. It has been the forefront of Islamic Insurgency and ethnic tension since the 1990s. It borders Chechnya, the location of a severe conflict with Russia that often featured Chechen fighters infiltrating Dagestan to call for Jihad.
Khabib is a devout Sunni Muslim and well educated. He speaks several languages and is very proud of his culture and heritage.
Insults aimed at his religion or nation are not taken likely. I’m not arguing that Khabib is a terrorist or that he supports armed violent jihad, but pointing out that disrespect against his religion is taken very seriously.
So should we have been surprised by Khabib’s actions? Well, if you had some general knowledge about the region he is from, probably not. McGregor is notorious for his trash talking, but when he insulted Khabib he questioned the support Khabib has in his nation, mocked Khabib by offering him alcohol even though he’s a Muslim who does not drink, and called his manager a terrorist rat.
Khabib has been exposed to religious warfare and terrorism, and to lump him and his team with real terrorists was undoubtedly an insult that he could not ignore.
Khabib claims Dillon Danis hurled Muslim insults at him after the fight and that’s why he jumped over the fence, a claim Danis denies. But nobody should have been surprised that Khabib was still fired up after his fight with McGregor was over.
“I know my father’s gonna smash me when I go home because…I know he’s gonna smash me.”-Khabib Nurmagomedov
“I think that for Khabib, the most severe sanctions would be my regard. I am going to regard this severely. I warned him. For me, the most important thing is discipline. You can do whatever you want in the octagon, but beyond its barrier-this is the border separating civilians, there are children, women, bystanders.
This fight took place within the octagon. That’s the spectacle But I am categorically against fighting outsid the octagon. Outside of the octagon, you need to exist peacefully. Fight in the octagon.”
Now for the million dollar, or two million dollar question. Were his actions justified?
Pre-fight trash talk has been a part of combat sports for years. McGregor and Mayweather’s trash talk was probably more entertaining than the actual fight itself.
But even though Mayweather and McGregor insulted each other greatly leading up to the fight, they were able to be cordial in the post fight interviews.
It’s difficult to find too many situations where a fighter leaped into the crowd immediately after a fight to engage someone in the crowd.
But there has been several situations where members of a boxer’s team jumped in a cage to start a brawl, and they were usually dealt with by the commission harshly.
Roger Mayweather jumped in the ring when Floyd fought Zab Judah and was hit with a low blow and a punch behind the head. An all out melee ensued when members from both camps entered the ring and brawled. Afterwards, Yoel Judah was fined $100,000 and had his license revoked for a year. Roger Mayweather was fined $200,000 and had his license revoked for one year. Leonard Ellerbe was fined $50,000 and had his license revoked for four months. Even Zab Judah received a fine of $350,000 and had his license revoked for a year.
Another example of a brawl happening in boxing was during the riot during the first Riddick Bowe/Andrew Golota fight. The fight was stopped after Golota landed several low blows on Bowe after repeated warnings. Members of Bowe’s security team jumped in the ring and went after Golota.
Rock Newman, Bowe’s manager and promoter, was suspended for a year and fined $250,000 for the incident.
More recently, one would have to look at the fight between Jose Uzcategui and Andre Dirrell, which featured Leon Lawson Jr., the Uncle of Dirrell, sucker punch Uzcategui. Lawson was suspended by the Maryland State Athletic Commission and faced criminal charges as a result.
Of course, one of the most famous post fight brawls or sucker punches was when James Butler sucker punched Richard Grant on ESPN after he lost his fight. He was charged with assault and suspended. In fact, he served four months at Rikers Island as a result.
Were his actions, jumping into the crowd to attack bystanders, justified? Precedent by athletic commission for boxers and members of their team behaving poorly and attacking fighters after a sanctioned fight is over are usually dealt with harshly.
There really isn’t any specific precedent to determine if the actions of Khabib were justified, but it appears likely that the commission won’t find any justification for a fighter to jump into a crowd to start a wild brawl, and will also likely deal with him harshly.
Justified? Also no.
Khabib’s punishment awaits.
UFC 229 Results: Khabib Submits McGregor and Immediately Shames MMA
By: William Holmes
The T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada was the host site for the biggest UFC PPV of 2018, featuring a main event between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor for the UFC Lightweight Title.
Photo Credit: UFC Twitter Account
The arena was starting to fill by the time of the first fight of the main card of the ppv, a strawweight woman’s bout between Michelle Waterson (15-6) and Felice Herrig (14-7).
Waterson opened up with using her kicks more like jabs and was effective with her front leg side kick to the thigh. Herrig was able to land a solid straight right in the opening round, but Waterson was more effective with her strikes.
Herrig was able to get Waterson’s back against the cage in the early moments of the second round, but Waterson was eventually able to break free and land a hard high kick to the head of Herrig before throwing her to the ground. Waterson was able to finish the second round with some strong ground and pound.
Herrig was able to find some success in the third round with her dirty boxing and was able to defend one of Waterson’s takedown attempts and maintain control on top. But Waterson was able to land some hard elbows from the bottom and briefly threatened with an omoplata.
The final scores were 30-26, 29-28, and 30-27 for Michelle Waterson.
The next bout of the night was a heavyweight bout between Former M1 Heavyweight Champion Alexander Volkov (29-6) and Derrick Lewis (20-5) .
Volkov was the much taller fighter and was controlling the first round with his reach and counter right hands. He was able to get side mount and transition to taking the back of Lewis, but Lewis was able to regain top position and land some short elbows as the round ended.
Volkov was able to stun Lewis with a combination in the opening minutes of the second round and had the left eye of Lewis swollen. Lewis took several hard shots but was able to stay on his feet.
Lewis took several hard right hands form Volkov in first half of the third round but showed he had a strong chin and took his best shots. Lewis looked like he was going towards a decision loss but he landed a devastating right cross followed by some concussive ground and pound that turned off the lights of Volkov.
Derrick Lewis wins by shocking knockout at 4:49 of the third round.
The next bout of the night was between Ovince Saint Preux (22-11) and Dominick Reyes (9-0) in the light heavyweight division.
Reyes, a southpaw, exchanged body kicks with Saint Preux in the opening round and was able to stuff the takedown attempts of Saint Preux. Reyes was able to land some short elbows to the side of Saint Preux’s head on some of the takedown attempts, and had Ferguson is applying pressure. Lands a hard straight right.
By the second round Reyes had landed six times the number of strikes that Saint Preux had landed, and had the forehead of Saint Preux badly bleeding. Saint Preux looked exhausted near the end of the second and Reyes had built a comfortable lead.
Saint Preux needed a stoppage in the final round to pull out the victory and he did press the action, but Reyes was able to fight wisely and suddenly landed a stunning left cross to the chin of Saint Preux that sent him crashing to the mat as the round came to an end.
Dominick Reyes wins by decision with scores of 30-27 on all three scorecards.
The co-main event of the night was between Tony Ferguson (25-3) and Anthony Pettis (21-7) in the lightweight division.
Ferguson looked like the significantly bigger man but was hobbled by leg kicks from Pettis early on. Ferguson and Pettis both tried spinning back fists in the opening round and were able to land hard shots, but Ferguson was landing the harder shots.
Pettis was able to drop Ferguson early in the second round, who had blood pouring out of his mouth from the shots of Pettis. Ferguson was able to cut Pettis to and get back to his feet and recover, and continued to apply continuous pressure and pound on Pettis from cage side to cage side. Pettis had a cut by his hairline and the ringside doctor took a look at it but allowed the fight to continue. Pettis got tagged badly several times as the round came to an end.
When Pettis went back to his corner he told his corner he broke his hand and his corner stopped the fight
Tony Ferguson wins by TKO at the end of the second round due to a broken right hand on Anthony Pettis.
The main event was between Khabib Nurmagomedov (26-0) and Conor McGregor (21-3) for the UFC Lightweight Title.
McGregor, despite being the bigger draw, entered the Octagon first to a positive fan reaction and Khabib entered second to mainly boos and jeers.
McGregor pressed forward in the opening round and was able to land an overhand right and some low leg kicks. Khabib went immediately for a takedown and McGregor was able to immediately stop it. Khabib completed the takedown and finished the round on top of McGregor but was not able to do much damage from there.
McGregor got tagged with an unexpected vicious overhand right in the second round by Khabib that had McGregor mometarily hurt. Both were throwing hard, wild punches and Khabib goes in for a takedown and is able to finish it. Khabib lands some hard ground and pound through the remainder of the round and at one point threatens McGregor with a kimura but doesn’t finish it.
McGregor had a much better third round and was able to tag Khabib with several combinations and stuffed his takedown attempts. McGregor appeared to gain some momentum this round and Khabib showed signs of tiring.
Khabib appeared fired up at the end of the third round and was yelling at McGregor as he went back to his corner.
Khabib opened up the fourth round by throwing a wild two punch combination but missed wildly, and McGregor was able to land with a two punch combination of his own. Khabib goes in for a takedown and completes it and transitions into a full mount. Khabib lands some heavy ground and pound before before taking McGregor’s back and sinking in a rear naked choke.
McGregor is forced to tap and Khabib doesn’t immediately let go. As Khabib rises to his feet he appears to spit in the direction of McGregor and immediately begins yelling at the corner of McGregor.
Khabib, who just had the biggest win of his career, then goes nuclear and jumps out of the octagon and goes after one of McGregor’s cornermen and starts a fight in the crowd.
All hell breaks loose and one of Khabib’s teammates jumps in the ring and begins unloading on McGregor. It takes several minutes before officials are able to restore order.
Khabib, still enraged, demands his belt but Dana White refuses to put it on him. Khabib is escorted out of the cage and into the back with a lengthy suspension almost certainly to follow.
A career defining win for Khabib turns into one of the most shameful moments in MMA history.
UFC 229 Preview: Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Conor McGregor
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada will host the biggest pay per view of the year in either boxing or MMA as the UFC Lightweight Title will be up for grabs when undefeated Khabib Nurmagomedov faces Conor McGregor in the main event of the evening.
McGregor is the UFC’s biggest draw, and Khabib is McGregor’s toughest test to date in MMA. This blockbuster event will be getting a lot of attention in the mainstream media leading up to Saturday.
The co-main event of the evening will be between Anthony Pettis and Tony Ferguson in the lightweight division. The winner of this bout will likely be in line for a future title shot against the winner of Khabib and McGregor.
Photo Credit: UFC Twitter Account
The undercard has some intriguing fights throughout. Ovince Saint Preux will face Dominick Reyes in the light heavyweight division, Derrick Lewis will face Alexander Volkov in the heavyweight division, Sergio Pettis will face Jussier Formiga in the flyweight division, and Michelle Waterson will face Felice Herrig in the Women’s Straweight division.
The UFC tends to show more fights on their pay per view offerings than boxing so five fights will likely be televised.
The following is a preview of the co-main event and the main event of the night.
Anthony Pettis (21-7) vs. Tony Ferguson (23-3); Lightweights
The winner of the co-main event of the night will likely move on to a future title shot.
Anthony Pettis was once considered a top rated contender, but he has struggled recently and has only gone 3-3 in his last six fights, and actually has a losing record of 3-5 in his last eight fights.
Tony Ferguson has been on a roll and is currently riding a ten fight win streak. However, his activity is of some concern as he has only fought three times since the beginning of 2016, while Pettis has fought seven times since the beginning of 2016.
Ferguson is 34 years old and three years older than Pettis. Ferguson will have a very slight two inch height advantage on Pettis.
Both fighters like to finish their fight. Of Pettis’ 21 victories, 17 have come by way of stoppage. 18 of Ferguson’s victories have come by way of stoppage.
There really is no such thing as an easy fight in the UFC. Pettis has defeated the likes of Michael Chiesa, Jim Miller, Charles Oliveira, Gilbert Melendez, and Benson Henderson. His losses were to Rafael Dos Anjos, Eddie Alvarez, Edson Barboza, Max Holloway, and Dustin Poirier.
Ferguson’s only losses were to Michael Johnson and two lesser known fighters very early in his career. He has defeated the likes of Kevin Lee, Rafael Dos Anjos, Edson Barboza, Josh Thomson, Gleison Tibau, Abel Trujillo, and Danny Castillo.
Pettis might have a slight edge in striking, but Ferguson has a strong edge in grappling. Ferguson was a NCWA Collegiate National Champion in Wrestling and was a high school state champion in Michigan. Pettis didn’t pick up on grappling until later on in his life.
Ferguson should win this fight by decision. He’s never been stopped by strikes in his career, and that’s Anthony Pettis’ best weapon.
Khabib Nurmagomedov (26-0) vs. Conor McGregor (21-3); UFC Lightweight Championship
As stated earlier, there really is no such thing as an easy fight in the UFC, and that’s why it’s very impressive for Khabib Nurmagomedov to have an undefeated record.
Khabib is a fighter with a very strong grappling background. He was born in Dagestan, Russia and has never lost. His win streak currently stands at 26 victories in a row.
Both Khabib and McGregor are 30 years old, though Khabib will have a two inch height advantage on McGregor.
Khabib has a history of injuries and trouble making weight, though he has made weight for this weekend. 16 of his 26 wins were by stoppage, with eight by TKO and eight by submission.
McGregor’s excitement as a fighter is much more than his personality. Of McGregor’s 21 victories, 18 have come by TKO/KO and one by submission. Only two of his wins were by judges decision.
Neither fighter can consider themselves to be super active since 2016. Khabib fought once in 2018, once in 2017, and twice in 2016. McGregor did not fight yet in an MMA cage in 2018 or 2017. He fought three times in 2016 and was last seen competing in a boxing ring when he was stopped by Floyd Mayweather Jr.
McGregor has beaten the likes of Eddie Alvarez, Nate Diaz, Jose Aldo, Chad Mendes, Dennis Silver, Dustin Poirier, and Max Holloway. His losses were to Joseph Duffy, Nate Diaz, and Artemij Sitenkov.
Nobody has ever beaten Khabib. He has defeated the likes of Al Iaquinta, Edson Barboza, Michael Johnson, Darrel Horcher, Rafael Dos Anjos, Thiago Tavares, and Gleison Tibau.
One of the biggest factors that jumps out at this writer is that McGregor’s three losses were all by submission and he’s facing a fighter who’s known for being a very strong grappler. Khabib has finished 8 previous opponents by submission.
If McGregor is going to win he’ll have to stop Khabib with strikes, it’s difficult to imagine him keeping the fight standing for five rounds.
Even though McGregor recently signed a lucrative contract extension with the UFC and is their most popular fighter, his recent inactivity and weakness in grappling will likely be issues that Khabib will exploit.
This writer feels that Khabib’s strengths will make for a very bad matchup for McGregor on Saturday.
Khabib Offers to Pay Ferguson $200,000 to Fight Him Telling Him to Shut Up and Fight
Khabib Offers to Pay Ferguson $200,000 to Fight Him Telling Him to Shut Up and Fight
By: Oliver Dollimore
Undefeated Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) lightweight Khabib Nurmagomedov has had a rough go when it comes to big opportunities. “The Eagle” sits at no. 1 in the 155-pound division, but he yet to compete for the title.
Khabib Nurmagomedov offered No. 2-ranked Tony Ferguson $200,000 to fight him. The bout, which has been rumored to in the works, hasn’t come to fruition just yet due to Ferguson being in contract disputes with the promotion, although it is a fight that makes quite a bit of sense.
Tony Ferguson has made it abundantly clear that money is an issue standing in the way of a fight with Khabib Nurmagomedov.Specifically, the fact Nurmagomedov is being paid more than Ferguson.
Nurmagomedov, for his part, wants to get this highly anticipated No. 1 contender’s fight signed and delivered. So much so that he’s willing to pay in order to make the bout happen at UFC 209 on March 4.
Nurmagomedov (24-0, 8-0 UFC) originally wanted a fight with new lightweight champion Conor McGregor, but since McGregor is on the shelf for a while, Ferguson was the next best choice in his eyes. Meanwhile, Ferguson (22-3, 12-1 UFC) believed that a win over Rafael dos Anjos was going to get him a title a shot. That never materialized either due to McGregor’s layoff and other factors.
While it’s highly unusual for a fighter to offer to pay another fighter to compete against him, Khabib is apparently just doing whatever he can to secure a high-profile bout. Hopefully the UFC can figure the issue out and get these two in the cage together to see who the true number one contender is at 155 pounds.
Nurmagomedov spoke to Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour to explain the current situation from his perspective:
“This is impossible [speaking about Ferguson wanting equal pay], (the) UFC never does this. Because I’m different, he’s different. He talks about (a) nine (fight) win streak, but I’m talking about (a) 24 (fight) win streak. Eight years (I’ve been) undefeated. Michael Johnson beat him, I beat Michael Johnson. He fought Rafael dos Anjos (in a) close fight. I dominated Rafael dos Anjos. When he fought with Danny Castillo, you guys can watch this fight, he lost for sure. Why does he want to make money like this? He needs to shut up and take this fight.”
As far as the contract dispute goes, Ferguson himself said on today’s edition of The MMA Hour that he isn’t sure why he isn’t being paid as he’d like to be by the UFC. “El Cucuy” has said that he’d like to be compensated in the same way that “The Eagle” is and he added in that there’s no reason why he shouldn’t be:
“I’m not sure, man. You ask them. Ask them why they’re not paying me, and maybe we’ll get some answers,” Ferguson said. “I haven’t had the opportunities that they have (given Nurmagomedov), as far as, over the past five fights, I’ve only been on one pay-per-view. All the rest have been on FOX Sports 1 cards, which limits my mainstream exposure. Khabib has been on three pay-per-views and two UFC on FOXs, which draws much larger audiences than FOX Sports 1 cards.”
“Despite this, there’s nothing that suggests that Khabib draws any larger than me. I haven’t been given the same opportunities or the same push as Khabib. I don’t belong to AKA or a big major sport’s program. I choose to do different things on my own and I’m building my own legacy, my own facilities, but that’s later on. That’s a completely different subject. So, as far as compensation goes, like I said, the UFC has been known to change it (for a particular fight) over their history, and I’m just looking for them to get this thing going, man. Let’s go. Let’s go, UFC.”
Fighter pay has long been a debated topic and Ferguson feels as if Nurmagomedov’s offer illuminates the problems within the system. As for right now, however, the surging contender encourages fans to get ‘anxious’ about the potential bout:
“But for right now, I’m enjoying my time. The fans, you guys need to get anxious, man. Let’s get some chatter going. Let’s get the UFC involved with this. If you’ve got Khabib willing to sacrifice his life and give me $200,000 of his own money, something’s wrong with that sh*t. I’m not going to take that guy’s money. He’s got a family too. So do I, and he’s got bills to pay. So I’m not going after Khabib’s. All I want is my stuff right and to be compensated for what my numbers prove to be, so let’s go kids.”
Ferguson has made a name for himself by winning an incredible nine straight as well as most recently beating former champion Rafael dos Anjos. Would you like to see him take on Nurmagomedov next?