Khabib Nurmagomedov believes he needs to beat Tony Ferguson at UFC 249 to cement his lightweight legacy.
The undisputed lightweight champion, Nurmagomedov will put his undefeated record on the line in the main event of UFC 249. The blockbuster event takes place on April 18th 2020 at the Barclays Center in New York. This will be the third time “The Eagle” has defended the 155-pound title and he is expecting it to be, third time lucky. In a recent interview with ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, Nurmagomedov explained why he needs the win over “El Cucuy”:
“For my legacy, on my list, I need Tony Ferguson for sure. I need this guy. I mean, I put this guy on my list and then I can say ‘who else?’ And nobody can say nothing.
“I am very excited about this fight, but about my emotions? You guys know, before I have a lot of beef but [this fight] nothing’s going on inside my mind. I’m relaxed, I have real Mexican gangster with me, I have real Dagestan gangster with me. I have both sides you know,” he laughed.
Due to the unorthodox fighting style and grappling skillset of Tony Ferguson, many believe the California native will be the toughest challenge of the champion’s career. In his two most recent fights, “The Eagle” scores submission wins over Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier. However, he admits that his former opponents don’t carry the same threat as El Cucuy:
“Yes, I think [he is my toughest opponent],” Nurmagomedov said in a previous interview with TMZ. “I think, just my opinion, last couple years, I compete with guys like Barboza, dos Anjos, Conor, Poirier, Iaquinta… All of these guys, not tough like Tony Ferguson.”
Nurmagomedov announced in 2019 that he plans to fight a few more times before retiring from MMA. Dana White has also discussed the possibility of the UFC 249 winner fighting McGregor.
Do you think Khabib Nurmagomedov has what it takes to defeat Tony Ferguson and Conor McGregor again before walking away as the undefeated champion? Sound off in the comments below!