On April 18, in the main event of UFC 249, undefeated UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov will attempt to defend his title against streaking contender Tony Ferguson—that is, provided the matchup isn’t once again derailed by a cruel twist of fate.
As UFC 249 draws closer, this Nurmagomedov vs. Ferguson fight is being praised as one of the greatest matchups in UFC history. The two fighters have both looked unstoppable of late, and would seem to have answers to the other’s strengths.
While Nurmagomedov has spoken highly of Ferguson’s ability, he believes he’s got his rival beat in a number of key areas.
Speaking to RT Sport, Nurmagomedov outlined the departments in which he feels he’s Ferguson’s superior. He pointed to a wrestling advantage, and an edge in terms of toughness and physicality.
“I always rate my chances higher than those of my opponents, since I can’t approach a fight with uncertainty,” Nurmagomedov said (via MMA Junkie). “I think I’m a lot better than him at wrestling. I’m much better than him physically. I’m tougher than him, and I haven’t lost yet, unlike him.”
Nurmagomedov also feels he’s more durable than Ferguson, who has been hurt on several occasions in the past.
“Unlike him, I haven’t been knocked down yet,” Nurmagomedov said. “He has – I believe seven UFC knockdowns, a lot of falls from punches, so I can hit, and I’m going to hit him especially hard.”
While Nurmagomedov is confident in his skills and strengths, he does concede Ferguson is worthy of praise too.
“I think it’s probably also right to note his strengths,” Nurmagomedov said. “He’s also on a good winning streak; he hasn’t lost since 2012. He’s a very good opponent. In the history of the UFC there’s never been a fight between two people with 12 wins in a row, so it’ll be a big historic event. As an opponent, I take him very seriously.”
Who do you think will win when Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson fight at UFC 249?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 12/18/2019.