Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov dominated the airtime during Thursday’s UFC 209 media call with their back-and-forth banter, and according to Ferguson, their interim lightweight title clash is the true attraction for next weekend’s pay-per-view card.
“You guys are going to see f—-ing fireworks. This should be the main event,” Ferguson said. “I don’t know why Stephen Thompson and Tyron Woodley are the main event. This is the s—t everybody’s talking about.”
The welterweight championship rematch between Woodley and Thompson will headline UFC 209 after their first meeting at UFC 205 resulted in a draw. But the animosity between Ferguson, who has won nine fights in a row, and Nurmagomedov, who is unbeaten in 24 professional bouts, adds intrigue to an already tantalizing matchup.
Even Nurmagomedov took a momentary break from taunting Ferguson on the call to acknowledge the significance of the fight.
“A lot people are waiting for this fight. This is real high level. In my opinion, this is the greatest matchup in lightweight history in the UFC,” Nurmagomedov said. “I don’t want to talk too much about this fight. Everybody knows I made this fight. Tony knows I made this fight. He tried to run away.”
Nurmagomedov has overwhelmed UFC opponents with his wrestling and grappling. Most recently, the Dagestani dominated Michael Johnson, the last man to defeat Ferguson, at UFC 205 this past November. Still, Ferguson is confident that he can handle anything his opponent brings to the table, including his wrestling.
“I’ve got 20-plus years doing this sport, man. I did so well in it I took up other sports. I got bored with wrestling. I loved it and I did it so long, I wanted to learn how to box,” Ferguson said. “This guy has no chance against my wrestling. He thinks sambo is awesome? I’ve got respect for the sport, I’ve got respect for where he comes from, but my wrestling is far superior. My style is just completely different than his. I’m gonna run circles all over this guy.”
Nurmagomedov has said that he will “break” Ferguson when they meet in the Octagon at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Ferguson, meanwhile, says that Nurmagomedov and his fans are in for a huge letdown.
“He’s the next in line. Doubt never got me here and nobody else ever held my hand to get me here. My f—-ing hard work, my determination, and my finishing people has gotten me here. I’m gonna finish this dude like I did everybody else,” Ferguson said. “I’m not even gonna tell you how. I’m not like anybody else. This guy wants to talk about trying to break me and he says I talk too much? You’ve got 1.9 million people that are going to be sad as f---k when I go in there and finish your ass.”