Speaking to MMA Fighting recently, Ali Abdelaziz claimed that streaking lightweight contender Tony Ferguson would “100%” not be the next opponent for his star client, UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.
“The biggest money fight he can make [is what we’re looking for],” Abdelaziz said. “At the end of the day, Khabib doesn’t need to fight anybody else for his legacy. He’s done what he’s done. He’s 27-0, he’s 12-0 in the UFC, he’s never been dropped, he’s never been caught, he’s never been knocked down. Let’s talk about a GOAT. No PEDs. We talk about the greatest of all-time, I think that he should be on top of the list, because he never lost to anybody. He’s never lost, he’s never been dropped, he’s never been stitched, nothing.
“So [we want] the biggest money fight he can make. Boxing, MMA, whatever. I love Tony Ferguson — he’s not that, I can tell you that. One-hundred percent, Tony Ferguson is not the next fight, because Tony Ferguson — I need somebody who can sell pay-per-views. At the end of the day, it will be the exact same situation. Khabib was supposed to fight Eddie Alvarez, remember that? When he got taken out [in place of McGregor], we understood it because Conor’s going to bring pay-per-views. We need people who can help us sell pay-per-views, and that’s it.”
Given that fans have been clamoring to see Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson fight for years, this comment from Abdelaziz did not go over especially well.
Replying to a fan comment on Instagram recently, the lightweight champion responded to this fan backlash. He assured that what his manager wants and what he wants are sometimes two different things.
— MMA TEAM DAGESTAN (@MMATeamDagestan) January 7, 2019
“Khabib your manager said you are not interested in tony fight cuz its not money fight,” a fan wrote on Instagram. “Bro don’t you remember the guy who said i’m here for legacy not money?!”
“My manager name Ali, my name is Khabib,” the lightweight champion replied. “Do not confuse.”
Do you think we’ll see Khabib Nurmagomedov defend his title against Tony Ferguson this year?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 1/7/2019.