Khabib Nurmagomedov: Tony Ferguson needs to ‘step forward’

Khabib Nurmagomedov

Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Tony Ferguson. It’s a dream fight for most fight fans, and one the UFC has tried multiple times to book. Yet thus far, fate has had other plans.

Today, when the lightweight champion Nurmagomedov is gearing up for a UFC 242 title defense opposite Dustin Poirier, and Ferguson is riding a ridiculous 12-fight win-streak, it’s easy to imagine the fight happening quite soon.

Nurmagomedov simply needs to defeat Poirier, and Ferguson needs to be there waiting for him thereafter.

According to Khabib Nurmagomedov, however, it’s not that simple. In a recent interview with Russia-24, the lightweight champion claimed that Tony Ferguson needs to “step forward” if he wants to stake his claim to a title shot.

What exactly that means is not entirely clear, but the champion seems to want to see a little bit more from his long-time rival — seemingly another victory.

“Sure, we need a fight with Ferguson. Yet, I do not pick opponents. Actually, I have never done that,” Nurmagomedov said (via Abhinav Kini of The Body Lock MMA). “I am in great health and shape, I hold an undefeated streak, and I’ve got the belt. If Tony wants a fight, he has to step forward. I don’t care if it will be Poirier or Ferguson, I am ready to fight with anyone.”

This comment lines up with another recent remark from Khabib Nurmagomedov, as the champion recently suggested Tony Ferguson fight Justin Gaethje in a lightweight number-one contender bout in the UFC 242 main event.

Whatever the case, it sounds like this long-awaited Ferguson vs. Nurmagomedov fight has an expiration date.

In his interview with Russia-24, Khabib Nurmagomedov implied that his retirement from competition is not far off.

“No doubt, I am not a junior in this job, my career is ripe. Yet, I am willing to have a few more fights. I still feel this competition fire in me, the fire for a challenge,” he said. “I want to fight and display my fighting skills against the best athletes. Time will show, it doesn’t make sense to make any statements now, now I am concentrated on my upcoming fight.”

Do you think we’ll ever see Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov fight?

This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 7/4/2019.

This article appeared first on BJPENN.COM