UFC 249: Tony Ferguson Hits Out At Khabib Nurmagomedov
In the last few hours, Khabib Nurmagomedov has taken to social media to rule himself out of his title defence against Tony Ferguson at UFC 249. His statement comes a few days after announcing that he was back home in Dagestan and due to the travel restrictions implemented in Russia as a result of the coronavirus, was stuck and unlikely to be able to compete on the card.
It is the fifth time the fight between the two has fallen by the wayside before getting to the Octagon. In the last hour, Ferguson has spoken to ESPN, to discuss Khabib’s statement.
“Obviously, I was very upset. I feel more for everybody else that’s actually going through some hard times. It’s a little bit different, of course, I’m a little bit pissed. He had the opportunity to stay here.
“He was in Abu Dhabi, he had his chance to be able to come back before the borders were closed in Russia. Decided to go back to Dagestan, did not finish his camp. The guy does not want to fight. He’s scared, he’s running. He should be stripped of his title.”
Ferguson compared Khabib withdrawal from UFC 249 to when he pulled out of UFC 209 three years ago as result of a bad weight cut.
“I’m more down to fight than anybody, any time, anywhere unless the circumstances are completely different. The fight’s against Khabib. This is the guy. Everybody just wants this fight. I get what he wanted to do. Obviously, he’s here, his family is back home in Dagestan, it is what you’ve got to do but he had the opportunity and he did the exact same thing at UFC 209.
“He knew that he wasn’t cutting weight very good. He said it already that he was having a hard time cutting weight, focusing and doing everything else like that. To me right there, he’s running away. He ran away. He obviously knew what he could do to help save this card. He didn’t want to take any of those chances. Everybody’s taking risks. He bailed out, man. It’s pretty hard to explain but he bailed out, man.”
The question is now, who will Ferguson face at UFC 249. Tony was asked if Justin Gaethje will replace Khabib.
“The dude’s got a 4-2 record, man, he’s got half. When all these things happened, when they stripped me of my belt. Remember I said it was like a round-robin tournament, I had to fight everybody. I fought everybody that was in the top five. I knocked them out, or I finished them in great fashion, and here we go, we’re back in the same spot.
“It’s like the UFC are trying to play keep-away with me. Nothing against the UFC or Dana, I know they gotta make their money, but I’m the f***ing champ. I’ve got my champion shirt on. I don’t have my belt because we’re here at practice. I’m still doing my thing. I’m about to get down and dirty. It doesn’t matter who we have, we’re going to try and make this thing go so at least some of the people in the world have a little bit of hope. Because the guys that are really doing it are the doctors and the nurses, the people taking care of everybody. If we can do our little bit of part to try and make something happen, I’m down for that.”
As far as Ferguson is concerned, he’s good to go at UFC 249. On one condition.
“I’m good to go but as long as everything else makes sense. We can make this fight happen. We don’t know where the location’s at. I’m not gonna say yes or no to an opponent unless we have a location. If we don’t have a location, how do you expect me to prepare? I don’t need 24 hours, give me a couple of hours so we can figure out what we gotta do, so I can talk to my team, and then we can go from there.”
Despite not knowing who his opponent will be or the location less, than three weeks out from UFC 249, Ferguson says he will continue training.
“The one thing I know is, I’m going to stay consistent with my training. And it doesn’t matter what location, you could drop me off on Khabib’s front doorstep man, and that dude would still not fight. It’s defend or vacate, that dude needs to be stripped.”
And while Gaethje’s name has been mentioned and other fighters, such as Dustin Poirier, have offered to step in on short notice, Ferguson believes only two men deserve to step inside the Octagon with him.
“To me, in my opinion, nobody else deserves that ass whooping except two people, that’s ‘McNuggets’ and ‘Team Tiramisu’. That’s Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor. That’s the first time I’ve called his his real name.”
If UFC 249 goes ahead, who do you want to see Tony Ferguson fight?