On March 4, in the co-main of UFC 209, streaking lightweights Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson will finally go to war. They will do so for interim lightweight gold, while the division’s undisputed champion Conor McGregor enjoys a break from competition to father his first child.
In a recent interview with Fox Sports, Nurmagomedov opened up on this bout with Ferguson, and explained that he has plans to break his foe’s arm – something he was careful not to do when he recently tapped Michael Johnson with a kimura. The motivation behind this threat is to teach Ferguson some respect.
“If you watch when I fight [Rafael] Dos Anjos, Michael Johnson, Darrel Horcher, these guys are my opponents, but he’s a little bit different than other guys,” Nurmagomedov said. “I want to break his face because I want to teach him respect. When I fought with Michael Johnson, when I took his arm for the kimura, I can break it but I go very slowly, be careful because I don’t want to give him injury. Because I understand fight was finished. I need only to go a little bit slowly and he tapped.”
“If Tony Ferguson gives me this arm, I’m going to break his arm like Frank Mir-[Antonio Rodrigo] Nogueira.”
From there, Nurmagomedov went on to concede that Ferguson is indeed an impressive fighter. While the Dagestan native does appreciate his upcoming foe’s skills, however, he believes he’ll present Ferguson with challenges he’s never faced before.
“Yes he’s an impressive fighter. He all the time fights, UFC gives him Performance of the Night but he never fights with fighters like me,” Nurmagomedov said. “He all the time fights with striking guys like Dos Anjos, Josh Thomson, [Edson] Barboza, these guys are all striking guys. I am completely different fighter. He has to stay ready because I’m going to do what I do all my life, all my career.”
“He has to change something. Because he has to work takedown defense, he has to work to get up, he has to work to defend my ground and pound. He never had to do this, now he has to do this. Because if you don’t do this, I’m going to break his face, finish him maybe a kimura, break his arm. So he has to stay ready.”
Who do you think comes out on top in this Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Tony Ferguson showdown? Sound off, PENN Nation!
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 1/23/2017.