On April 7, in the main event of UFC 223, Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson will finally collide—knock on wood.
Ahead of this fight, the world is dividing when it comes to picking a winner. There are those we believe Nurmagomedov will climb to an insane 26-0 by wrestling Ferguson into sawdust, and there are those who feel Ferguson possesses the perfect style to thwart the seemingly unstoppable Russian.
Unsurprisingly, of course, both fighters feel confident they’ll win. As a matter of fact, Nurmagomedov believes he will actually finish Ferguson.
“I’m going to give him a very strong left hook — left hook, he goes down and then I choke him,” Nurmagomedov said on the UFC 223 media conference call (h/t Peter Carroll of MMAFighting.com).
This bold prediction from Nurmagomedov then prompted a snappy response from Ferguson.
“So a rear-naked choke, that’s what he’s thinking?” Ferguson fired back. “I’ve got something planned for your ass.”
Nurmagomedov then took it a step further, specifying that he doesn’t expect to win by rear-naked choke, but by D’Arce—which is Ferguson’s signature attack.
“I’m going to give him very nice D’arce choke,” said Nurmagomedov.
While there was plenty of back and forth of this kind between Nurmagomedov and Ferguson on the UFC 223 conference call, the pair also exchanged some more respectful remarks.
“He’s a tough guy. He’s a good fighter, a very good fighter,” Nurmagomedov said of Ferguson. “[He’s on a] 10-fight win streak, but UFC don’t give him respect because of Conor [McGregor] — Conor is still the real champ. [Ferguson] is interim champ, I don’t understand it, but he’s upset about this.
While Nurmagomedov offered some praise of Ferguson’s ability, he’s not so sure about Ferguson himself.
“He’s a great fighter, but his personality…I don’t understand this guy — he looks stupid,” Nurmagomedov said.
Who do you think wins UFC 223’s Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Tony Ferguson showdown?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 3/30/2018.