Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson have been scheduled to fight four times previously. As of yet, however, the pair have never actually shared the cage.
The hopes is that that will finally change at UFC 249 this April.
After four previous fight cancellations for various reasons — some of which bordered on the ridiculous — Nurmagomedov and Ferguson are scheduled to fight again, and the entire fight community is praying the fifth time is the charm.
While there is understandably some superstition surrounding this match, Javier Mendez, the head coach behind Nurmagomedov, believes the stars have aligned for the fight this time around.
He believes that, with each previous failed attempt to make this Nurmagomedov vs. Ferguson fight, interest has been slow cooking, and at UFC 249, the buzz will be more deafening than it would been had the fight occurred in the past.
“It’s like things are meant to be this way,” Mendez told MMA Junkie recently. “They’re meant to be and that didn’t happen, but now it’s bigger than it’s ever been. So maybe it was meant to be that they were going to fight in a much bigger platform. And here we are.
“It’s the biggest platform for both of them, fighting each other wasn’t meant (then),” Mendez added, opening up on this Nurmagomedov vs. Ferguson fight. “This is the biggest platform ever for both of them to fight each other. And maybe it was meant to be this way, maybe it was meant to be bigger than the what it was back then. And now we are at the huge platform for both of them, So I’d just rather look on the positive side of it, you know.”
Mendez sees another silver lining in this matchup taking some time to put together. He believes Nurmagomedov and Ferguson have both gotten exponentially better since the UFC first attempted to book the fight between them.
“It’s changed some because Tony has gotten better, Khabib has gotten better,” Mendez explained. “So it’s not the same. Can not be the same. Look how good Tony has looked. You can’t say it’s the same, no way. And look how good Khabib has looked. We have to look at it like it’s a brand new fight. You can’t look at it as same old, same old. We know what we’re looking at. Different things have popped up since then for both of them.”
Do you think the fifth time will be the charm for this long-awaited Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Tony Ferguson fight?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 2/19/2020.