UFC: Khabib Opens Up On Ferguson, McGregor And ‘Cowboy’
Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson are scheduled to meet for a fifth time, at UFC 249. With each man having pulled out twice in their previous four attempted showdowns, MMA fans around the world are keeping their fingers crossed that it will be fifth time lucky.
Speaking at a press conference in Russia recently, Khabib was asked about Tony’s unpredictability and dangerous elbows that could cause the fight to be stopped by a doctor, as we saw in the Jorge Masvidal vs Nate Diaz fight at UFC 244. But while the UFC lightweight champion stated that he can’t predict how the fight will go, he is confident that Ferguson’s razor sharp elbows won’t be a problem for him.
“It’s impossible to predict a fight [and] what direction it’ll go in. That’s very difficult. I never worry about an opponent’s actions, what he’ll do and how he’ll do it. I always study an opponent’s strengths and try to deflect them when I get in the cage.
“You, however, never saw a cut on me. Not even a black eye. So I don’t think it’ll be a problem. My head and skin are good. Nobody ever cut me and I don’t think I’ll get one that’s so bad that the judges stop the fight. It’ll be interesting. I’ve never been hit in a way that left a black eye, so he’s got a task for himself.”
Khabib was also asked about UFC president Dana White repeatedly stating that Conor McGregor will fight the winner, after he beat ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone at UFC 246.
“I have a fight on April 18th, a very serious fight. For the past month and a half, I’ve been consistently training day and night. I’ve gotten myself in good shape to where I’m supposed to be 70 days before a fight. I feel great. What’ll happen after the fight, no one knows. I don’t worry about it. That’s what [the UFC] want. I’m surprised that people even question me about a rematch. It seems that people want to continue the festivities after that fight.
“Everyone saw what happened in the Octagon [against McGregor at UFC 229]. I controlled the fight every step of the way. I did everything I wanted to him. He even gave up. How can we even discuss a rematch? We can only talk about continuing the festivities and making money. The question is, do I want that? I am focused on Tony Ferguson.”
Asked whether he does want ‘that’, Khabib emphatically said ‘no’. And went on to say that event the $100 million his dad recently said he would want to give McGregor a rematch, wouldn’t change his mind.
“Why do I need that kind of money? There are so many organisations. For example, there’s not only football for the blind, there’s sambo and other sports. Let [the UFC] give it to them if they don’t know what to do with the money. But giving me $100 million for me to beat up that idiot again? I don’t think that’s rational.”
Khabib went on to say that McGregor doesn’t deserve a rematch, coming off a win against ‘Cowboy’. And threw shade in the direction of the UFC for hand picking the Irishman’s comeback opponent. (H/T BJPenn.com)
“Maybe it was harsh, but it was accurate. I’ve just foreseen it, how properly [the UFC] played it. How properly they chose the opponent. People gasped, why? Because ninety percent of the people who watch MMA don’t understand the sport, they just watch it. They know their names and that’s it.”
While Khabib vs McGregor two would do huge numbers, there are those that believe there are more worthy contenders. Khabib certainly believes that.
“People started talking about the rematch etc. Even though Cerrone lost seven of his last ten fights. A guy fights ten times and loses seven of them, and they call him a world-class fighter, a legend, etc. Okay, let him be a legend. But he was done a long time ago.
“We’re talking about the title contenders. A guy who will fight for the title. There are other fighters proving themselves again and again with their performances, with their wins. They are the contenders. But [the UFC and McGregor] took the other road. They took the way, that is understandable for the people, but not understandable for the experts.”
Earlier this week, Khabib’s manager Ali Abdelaziz said McGregor needs to beat Justin Gaethje, who he also manages, to earn his title shot. And while it’s easy to disagree with Abdelaziz at times, this would make a lot of sense.