On Saturday in Abu Dhabi, UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov thoroughly thrashed Dustin Poirier to retain his title. With the world in his grip, “The Eagle” has one man in his sights: Tony Ferguson.
Nurmagomedov (28-0) routinely took Poirier down in their UFC 242 main event and eventually submitted “The Diamond” via rear-naked choke in the third. The Dagestani did virtually whatever he wanted against the former interim lightweight champ and once he took Poirier’s back, it was all but over. But as soon as their showdown concluded, all eyes were set on what Nurmagomedov was going to do next.
The only man’s name the champion mentioned was Ferguson.
“UFC make decision,” Nurmagomedov stated after his fight on the ESPN+ post-fight show. “I think yes, he deserve this. He’s on the line. It’s gonna be good fight.”
Nurmagomedov was candid about his future, saying in a somewhat grumpy manner that apparently no matter what he does inside the cage – where he has only been victorious – that he feels it’s not enough to satisfy the MMA fans and media.
“You know what’s interesting,” he said, “even [if you’re a] champion, even if you’re undefeated, undisputed, even you have 28-0, like 12-0 in the UFC, people gonna talk about, ‘OK, this guy.’ Even if I beat Tony Ferguson, after Tony Ferguson they’re gonna bring some guy in. And they’re gonna promote him [and say] ‘This guy gonna beat [me].’”
Nurmagomedov does understand the fickleness of the MMA business and said that even if he conquers “El Cucuy” next time out, his mission as one of the greatest fighters in the sport’s history is not over.
“This is a game,” he said. “After Tony, it’s not finished, nothing. But right now, I win this fight. Last two years was so busy for me, I feel so much pressure. Give me couple days for rest.”
Nurmagomedov and Ferguson have been scheduled to meet on multiple occasions in the Octagon, but to this point the fight has fallen through for various reasons.