UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov says that he’s more motivated to fight Tony Ferguson than any of his last four opponents.
Nurmagomedov defeated highly-skilled and elite opponents in Dustin Poirier, Conor McGregor, Al Iaquinta and Edson Barboza in his last four fights. All four of those opponents are extremely talented and dangerous in their own rights, but Nurmagomedov feels that Ferguson presents a far more threatening challenge.
Nurmagomedov says there’s a fire burning inside him right now and that he’s more motivated to train for the Ferguson fight than any of his other opponents. Considering Nurmagomedov is a perfect 28-0 in his MMA career and is arguably the most dominant fighter in the sport, it’s scary to consider that we might not have even seen him at his absolute best yet.
Here’s what Nurmagomedov said to reporters in a recent interview in Dagestan, Russia (h/t MMARusContext on Twitter).
“I will train hard. With every fight, I gain more and more experience. I’m getting older, I am 31. I think it’s the peak age of the fighter’s career. Of course, I will train more for this fight because I got worthy opponent. He is a very good and very dangerous opponent. And to be honest, I lacked this motivation for my last fights. Iaquinta, Conor, Barboza, Poirier. They’re not the same as Tony Ferguson. That’s why I feel that fire burning inside me again.”
Nurmagomedov and Ferguson are set to fight at a pay-per-view event on April 18, 2020, in Brooklyn, New York. The two rivals have been scheduled to fight four times in the past but each of those fights didn’t happen for various reasons. Now, the entire MMA community is hoping the fifth time’s the charm and we get to see two of the best lightweights of all time go to war in the center of the Octagon in a fight that has the potential to be a classic.
How do you think the Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Tony Ferguson fight will play out?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 12/3/2019.