This weekend, 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu founder Eddie Bravo will watch one of his star pupils vie for UFC gold. That pupil is Tony Ferguson, who battles Dagestan’s Khabib Nurmagomedov for the interim lightweight title in the co-main event of Saturday night’s UFC 209.
As one of Ferguson’s coaches and cornermen, Bravo’s allegiance heading into this anticipated lightweight showdown is obvious. Objectively, however, the Jiu-Jitsu icon finds this matchup absolutely fascinating.
Bravo weighed in on this Ferguson vs. Nurmagomedov bout on Wednesday’s edition of BJ PENN Radio.
“It’s going to be the craziest fight ever,” Bravo told host Kinch on the show. “Tony Ferguson and Khabib? That should be the headliner right there. That’s like Tommy Hearns vs. [Marvin] Hagler. That’s like Sugar Ray Leonard vs. Roberto Durán. That’s so huge, it’s just going to be incredible. Khabib is a bear, but Tony is just super slick and ninja-like. It’s going to be one of the greatest fights of all time.”
While Bravo was reluctant to offer up a concrete prediction on the outcome of his student’s title fight, he was happy to delve into some of the possibilities.
“Obviously Khabib is going to want to do what he does to everyone,” he said. “He mauls them. He has incredible control. His jiu jitsu, his top game, it’s just out of this world. But Tony Ferguson is not Michael Johnson. Tony Ferguson is very dangerous on the ground. So, for Khabib to be successful, he’s going to have to control Tony 100% of the time – if he even gets him to the ground. If there’s any kind of scramble, if there’s any kind of looseness, Tony will choke you out from any angle. He’s an animal. He’s a finisher. So, Khabib is going to have his hands full.
“You know, I never predict fights,” Bravo continued. “I’m no clairvoyant or anything like that, but don’t be surprised if Khabib can’t take Tony down and he gets knocked out standing. Or, maybe he takes Tony down a couple times but can’t even pass his guard or keep him down. Or he takes him down, right into a choke. But at the same time, Khabib has good striking. Anything could happen. Maybe he gives Tony a little trouble on his feet and Tony has to take down Khabib and passes his guard and mounts him and beats the shit out of him from the top… It’s hard to predict. Anything could happen.”
What do you think of Eddie Bravo’s assessment of UFC 209’s Tony Ferguson vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov co-main event? Sound off, PENN Nation!
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 3/2/2017.