On Thursday night UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov finally addressed his recent statement regarding his availability for UFC 249. In an interview with Brett Okamoto of ESPN, Nurmagomedov said he never officially pulled out of the title fight against Tony Ferguson, he said he needs a location before any decision can be made about the fight.
Originally set to take place in Brooklyn, UFC 249 is still looking for a home as worldwide restrictions on large-event gathers due to the COVID-19 pandemic have made it difficult for the UFC to find a home for the PPV event.
Following the initial news from the champion, Tony Ferguson spoke to Ariel Helwani of ESPN and dished major shots at Nurmagomedov for once again pulling out of their matchup, and on Thursday so did former champion and rival of Nurmagomedov, Conor McGregor.
McGregor gave Ferguson props for sticking to the fight and said that “El Cucuy” leads Nurmagomedov 3-2 in terms of cancellations of their matchup. If the fight between Ferguson and Nurmagomedov does not happen at UFC 249, it will be the fifth time that the matchup would have to be postponed. During an interview with ESPN on Thursday night, Nurmagomedov responded to both McGregor and Ferguson for their recent comments.
During his conversation with Brett Okamoto, Nurmagomedov took issue with McGregor saying he is currently in fight shape.
"He never can do nothing with me. Inside the cage, he is zero. When we fought, what did he do? He did zero."@TeamKhabib questions "fake" Conor McGregor saying he is in fighting shape. (via @bokamotoESPN) pic.twitter.com/DxhX7qINfb
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) April 3, 2020
“When I smash him last time, he said ‘my foot [is to] blame’ or something like this, ‘it was not my good shape.’ How he right now in good shape? How? How we can talk about shape when I smash his face, when he tap, he said ‘it was my bad shape, I was without shape’ now we talk about ‘I am in good shape, I can come in.’
“A couple days ago he send message ‘hey people please take care of family, be safe, stay home, government ask us stay home.’ A couple days ago, now he talk about ‘I am good shape..blah blah blah, someone have to fight, someone have to fly.’ For me this is fake, I was always real, maybe someone like, maybe someone don’t like, this is not my job but I was always real. But this guy is fake, what are you talking about, about his shape? He go to some island and sit home all day like scared about this Coronavirus but he don’t talk about this.”
Khabib Nurmagomedov then turned up the heat on his former opponent asking him what happened back when they fought at UFC 226, when he defeated McGregor by fourth-round submission.
“What happened October 6, 2018? When you have six months training camp, you do everything you can, you come inside the cage, you talk a lot of bad things before the fight, six months you train very hard, you come inside the cage and tap like chicken. When I’m going to be here, Tony [Ferguson] is maximum interim champ, Conor always going to be No. 2, he never can do nothing with me. Inside the cage, he’s zero. Like when we fight, what’d he do? He do zero. Okay, everybody talk about his standup, I give him all round, I stand with him.”
Nurmagomedov would go on to continue his attack on Ferguson and McGregor saying they will always fall behind him in the UFC.
"While I'm in the UFC, always, Tony is going to be interim champion, and always, Conor is going to be No. 2. These guys are not on my level."@TeamKhabib won't object to Tony Ferguson fighting for an interim title. (via @bokamotoESPN) pic.twitter.com/Uhncp1o6Ms
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) April 2, 2020
“When I’m in the UFC, always Tony going to be interim champion, and always Conor [McGregor] going to be No. 2 when I’m here. These guys are always going to be No. 2, I’m going to be No. 1, these guys going to be No. 2, interim, fake, these guys are not on my level. This is good, make them interim title, Tony deserve interim title, Conor No. 2, and everybody knows who’s the best.”
What do you make of Khabib Nurmagomedov’s response to both Conor McGregor and Tony Ferguson?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 4/2/2020