Over the weekend, in the main event of UFC 223, Khabib Nurmagomedov thwarted a last minute opponent Al Iaquinta, moving to a flawless 26-0 overall, and capturing the UFC lightweight title in the process.
With a UFC belt finally wrapped around his waist, Nurmagomedov can look forward to any number of interesting options going forward. There’s Georges St-Pierre, who he called out post-fight. There’s Conor McGregor, the former champion. And of course, there’s former interim champ Tony Ferguson, who Nurmagomedov has been booked to fight a whopping four times to no avail.
In Nurmagomedov’s opinion, Tony Ferguson should have to win another fight before he’s granted a shot at the UFC lightweight title. That is, after all, what Nurmagomedov himself had to do after withdrawing from a planned UFC 209 bout with Ferguson.
“I keep wanting this fight,” Nurmagomedov said of Ferguson at the UFC 223 post-fight press conference (h/t Sherdog). “You guys remember, when I pull out last time after UFC 209, UFC tells me, ‘You want to deserve title shot, you have to fight some top guy.’ When you have injury, this is your fault. I have a lot of injuries. I have ACL, MCL, back surgery, hand surgery, broke ribs. I come back, come back, I never give up. Now he’s injured. This is not my fault. This is not Dana’s fault. This is his fault.
“Please, come back and fight with somebody and deserve this. Tony Ferguson is tough guy. I don’t want to talk trash or bad about him. I know he always talks trash. He just pulled out and he keeps talking [on Twitter]. Shut up, he pulled out. He’s a great fighter, but a little bit stupid. I don’t understand this guy.”
It’s worth noting, of course, that UFC President Dana White recently promised that he’s done trying to get Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson into the cage together.
“Hell no,” White told ESPN last week. “I’m never making that fight ever again. Ever.”
Do you think the two lightweight talents will ever fight?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 4/10/2018.