To close out the year, Khabib Nurmagomedov is going to fight Edson Barboza at UFC 219. It will be his first UFC appearance since UFC 205 in November of last year. After many failed attempts to fight Tony Ferguson, Nurmagomedov is finally healthy and ready to return with a vengeance. After he takes care of his business with Barboza, the Russian Sambo machine doesn’t want to fight Conor McGregor. He’d rather finally answer the Ferguson question and put it all behind him. Not just for closure, but because he simply doesn’t like the guy.
“My opinion, I have to fight for the title, you know. I deserve this. This is not about eight-fights in the UFC, this is about all my career since 2008. My plan is fight Edson Barboza. First of all, make weight. Second, beat this guy. And next year year want to fight Tony Ferguson. This is my plan. Me versus Conor is a good fight too, but first of all I have to finish. We have unfinished business with Tony Ferguson. I really, really want to smash this guys face. This is what I want. Sometimes you just don’t like somebody and it’s OK. Like, I think everywhere, everybody, there’s somebody who don’t like you. You know what I like about Tony Ferguson? I can smash him and the UFC are going to pay me money. UFC are going to pay me money.”
Khabib: You lost to Michael Johnson. Michael Johnson kicked your ass. I destroy Michael Johnson. #UFC209
— Champions MMA (@ChampionsFight) February 23, 2017
“Not a lot of people can get the chance to like, sometimes you don’t like your neighbor, or sometimes you don’t like somebody you know, but you can smash them or you can call police. You can go jail, this guy can make you problem. But about Ferguson, no, I don’t like this guy and I’m going to smash this guys’ face and the UFC are going to pay me. I love this. I love this sport. This is different situation. I talk like this with Michael Johnson because when I take his arm in Kimura, I can break his arm too, you know, but I go slowly and I talk with him because I respect him. I don’t want to give him damage. He already lose this fight, why I give him damage? I respect him. But about Tony Ferguson is a different story. If I take his arm like this I’m going to break his arm 100-percent.” — Khabib Nurmagomedov speaking on Daniel Cormier Talk & Talker podcast.
Back at UFC 209, Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov’s bout was one of the most anticipated fights of this year. It could have been made up at UFC 216, but the UFC and Ferguson moved forward against Kevin Lee while Khabib was taking care of his health. Now that Ferguson has proved he’s the best lightweight in the world not named Conor McGregor, Nurmagomedov has a serious statement to make at UFC 219. …And a healthy and motivated Khabib Nurmagomedov is a very scary fighter.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 11/22/2017.