Khabib Nurmagomedov’s father and coach Abdulmanap recently opened up on the preparation for Khabib’s upcoming bout against Tony Ferguson.
The undefeated lightweight champion Nurmagomedov is expected to face off against No. 1 ranked lightweight contender Ferguson at UFC 249 in April 2020. This will be the fifth time the athletes have attempted to fight. Both fighters withdrew from their previous bouts for various reasons including health complications. Nurmagomedov’s father Abdulmanap believes the prior cancellations only add to the importance of the fifth (and hopefully final) attempt at the matchup.
“Because this isn’t the first attempt, I think it is one of the most important events in this sport,” the elder Nurmagomedov said in an interview with RT Sport. “It was planned four times and called off twice because of Khabib and twice because of Tony. Millions of fans are waiting for it. There’s never been anything like this in UFC history. It’s the most important fight in UFC history. It is important not only for me but for my republic, my country, and all our supporters.”
“Throughout all this time we were able to improve our skills in different aspects, especially striking technique,” Nurmagomedov added. “We surprise [opponents] more and more each time. Javier [Mendez] promises to surprise this time but Khabib won’t stray from his father’s plan.”
Ferguson has an unorthodox fighting and striking style that throws off many opponents. He last fought Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone at UFC 238, where he bombarded the veteran to a doctor’s stoppage, extending his win-streak to 12-straight.
While Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov believes his son will stick to their strategy, they don’t plan on underestimating an opponent like Ferguson.
“First of all, he’s got good endurance, a good winning streak,” Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov said. “He’s been caught, but he finishes all his fights with submissions, cuts or technical knockouts. He has a good arsenal, he is a worthy opponent and we are preparing accordingly.”
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This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 12/10/2019.