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Tony Ferguson Has Wild Theory About Khabib Nurmagomedov Allegedly Ducking Him



Tony Ferguson claims Khabib Nurmagomedov intentionally pulled out of their scheduled UFC 209 outing in 2017.

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Ferguson (25-10) and Nurmagomedov (29-0) share one of the more interesting rivalries in Ultimate Fighting Championship history that never got settled inside the Octagon. Ferguson and Nurmagomedov were initially set to meet on the finale of “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 22 in December 2015, but “Eagle” pulled out due to a rib injury.

While the two were rebooked for a UFC on Fox event in February 2016, Ferguson pulled out due to a lung issue. After overcoming several complications, the promotion booked them for the third time as the co-main event at UFC 209 on March 4, 2017, this time with the interim lightweight title on the line.

However, Nurmagomedov pulled out just before the weigh-ins, citing weight cut issues.

While Dana White blasted Nurmagomedov’s team for not relying on the UFC to deal with the issue, Ferguson was more empathetic.

“@TeamKhabib I Hope U Feel Better Khabib, I Pray For Your Recovery, I Mean It, Get Better #Road2Gold #TonyFergusonMMA #UFC209 @ufc @danawhite,” Ferguson wrote on Twitter, now known as the X platform.

However, Ferguson has recently changed his tune, accusing Nurmagomedov of intentionally pulling out of the fight. According to Ferguson, a Russian trainer had a worried look on his face when he saw “El Cucuy” working on his boxing a day before the UFC 209 weigh-ins. While Ferguson didn’t make anything of it then, his fight against Nurmagomedov was canceled the next day. Ferguson connected the dots when he later saw the same worried-looking Russian trainer with Nurmagomedov’s longtime coach Javier Mendez. Ferguson believes the trainer had advised Nurmagomedov to pull out of the fight after watching his boxing.

“And that night when we were practicing, I hit the speed bag and stuff,” the 40-year-old said on the Jaxxon podcast. “And we went to this other boxing spot and I met the Russian champ boxer, big fuc*ing dude, got introduced to him and everybody is super chill. But the only person that wasn’t smiling there was this other fuc*ing trainer he was watching my boxing training. And I had it, I was really good with my sh*t and I was zoned in, I’m cutting weight. So, the only person in that room what wasn’t smiling was this trainer and I don’t know him, shook his hand.

“I went to bed. I made weight next morning… Then I hear that Khabib went to the hospital supposedly. Well, what ended up happening was, couple of fights later, don’t remember which fight, I ended up seeing that same fuc*ing trainer in the corner with Javier Mendez at AKA. This bitch made a phone call to Khabib and says, ‘Dude, this kid is fuc*ing sharp right now.”

Nurmagomedov vs. Ferguson was canceled two more times, first due to “El Cucuy” needing surgery and then because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Nurmagomedov finally dismissed the matchup after Ferguson’s stellar 12-fight winning streak came to an end with a violent fifth-round TKO loss against Justin Gaethje at UFC 249 in 2020. Nurmagomedov had predicted that no fighter would remain the same after taking a beating like Ferguson did and Gaethje and it seems “The Eagle” couldn’t have been more accurate. Ferguson has since lost six more in a row, most recently a lopsided unanimous decision loss against Paddy Pimblett at UFC 296 in December 2023. Ferguson returns to action against Michael Chiesa at UFC Abu Dhabi on Aug. 3, which Dana White hopes will be the former interim lightweight champ’s last walk to the Octagon regardless of the result.
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