UFC: Khabib Says He Lacked Motivation In His Last Four Fights
UFC fans got the fight they’ve been calling for, this week – Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson will fight for the UFC lightweight title on April 18th, in Brooklyn.
And according to Khabib, he will train harder for this fight. Speaking at a media scrum in Dagestan (as translated by @MMARusContext), the UFC lightweight champion called Tony a worthy opponent, which has resulted in ‘that fire burning inside me again’.
“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 a fighter’s career.”
The same can’t be said for his last four opponents though, Edson Barboza, Al Iaquinta, Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier. Khabib went on to say that he lacked motivation against all four.
“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.”
Someone who agreed with Khabib’s assessment of Tony is John McCarthy. Speaking on an episode of his Weighing In podcast (as transcribed by The Body Lock), ‘Big’ John said Khabib won’t be able to break Ferguson.
“Khabib needs to fight a specific fight to beat Tony Ferguson. And he needs to be in that mindset of ‘I will put myself in these positions that you say you’re comfortable with and I’m going to make you uncomfortable with what you think you’re comfortable with.’ That’s where I think Khabib needs to put this fight for him to grind out a fight against Tony because he is not going to physically break Tony,” McCarthy said.
“It’s not going to happen. Tony does not have that in his head. You are not going to push him past that cliff as far as exercise output in that he gets exhausted — that’s not going to happen. And you are mentally not going to break him. Khabib can talk to Tony all he wants and just realise that every word you say will be two words coming back in the opposite from Tony talking back to you. So don’t get into this whole thing of ‘I want to mentally break’ — you’re not going to do that. There are those guys. But this guy just does not break.”
Despite supposedly not being motivated by his last four opponents, Khabib still managed to dominate all four, finishing McGregor and Poirier. It’s hard to believe that the Dagestani wasn’t motivated when he faced the Irishman at UFC 229. His distain towards him is still so strong that he refuses to allow his teammate Daniel Cormier to say anything positive about him.
The highly motivated Khabib will defend his title against Tony at the Barclays Center, in Brooklyn, on April 18th. Although the UFC is yet to name this event, it is likely to be UFC 249.
Who do you think will leave Brooklyn as the UFC lightweight champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov or Tony Ferguson?