It’s official. It was reported, we confirmed it, Dana White backed the report up and later today there is a press conference on it. Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov will try to fight once again. The word is it won’t be for an interim title, but for the undisputed title, which may be confirmed today as well. Either way, Conor McGregor and his coach believe that doesn’t matter, and the Irishman’s shadow will loom over the division until someone actually beats him. As far as the match-up, coach John Kavanagh dissected it in detail and believes Nurmagomedov will come out on top.
“[Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov are both] grapplers for a start. Neither really has high level striking, so it’s going to be a grappling match. I think a lot of it will be played with Khabib on top, and I think he wins a decision. I think it goes the five rounds, I think it’s a decision to Khabib. I do think there is a really high risk of it not happening. It’s been scheduled twice and it has not happened twice. It’s very impressive what Khabib can do when he is fighting, just that pace he has and the relentless pressure, but it does require you to train in a certain way that brings on injuries. There is a reason why he is averaging one fight or less over the last couple of years because of multiple surgeries and so on. He’s got a lot of miles on the athletic clock. I would almost see as there being a high likelihood of one pulling out before the fight happens.”
“190lbs of Pure Awesomeness” Day 2 #TonyFergusonMMA Coming After Yo’ Ass @TheNotoriousMMA #DefendorVacate Pussy —> #Vacate Looks Great @ParadigmSM #GP …And To You @JohnKavanagh You Are Small Potatoes Coach Cavalier… I Can’t Wait To Add Your SBG Pin To My Map 🖕🏽😎 Sign It. pic.twitter.com/Tyligtctni
— Tony Ferguson (@TonyFergusonXT) January 7, 2018
“Let’s assume both get through their training camps, they’re both healthy, it happens and it’s five rounds. I think Tony will have some moments in the first round or two where he gets close with some guillotines or triangles, but I think Khabib powers out of them and wears him down as he does. I don’t think he really has the stopping power to finish him. His victory over Barboza was very impressive and so one sided, but he didn’t really break him up. His face wasn’t bashed up and rearranged, it was more just the volume of shots and guard passing and so on. I think that would start to wear on Tony and he’d start to steal rounds with takedowns. Yeah, Khabib by unanimous decision.” — Coach John Kavanagh on Facebook Live via MMA Fighting.
Both Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov pose interesting problems for each other. Ferguson is durable and has upset potential on the ground, while it has been proven that Nurmagomedov can smash any lightweight that he’s faced so far. It looks like McGregor will be waiting on the sidelines to see how this one pans out. Regardless of whatever the belt situation is, he can always slip right in and fight or defend his title anytime he wants. That is, if the money is right.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 1/19/2018.