UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov remains open to a fight with Tony Ferguson, but has called for the latter to step forward and take the initiative.
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Nurmagomedov faces Dustin Poirier in a title unification clash in the main event of UFC 242 on September 7. Ferguson, meanwhile, further staked his claim for a title shot with a 12th consecutive win following his TKO victory over Donald Cerrone last month.
But despite “El Cucuy’s” impressive winning streak, there’s always a chance that Conor McGregor could leapfrog him and challenge Nurmagomedov to a lucrative rematch. That and the fact that Nurmagomedov vs. Ferguson has been booked four times only to never happen is probably why UFC president Dana White remains insistent on waiting to see how things play out, as usual.
Nurmagomedov has already spoken of how he needs a win over Ferguson for his legacy, and in a recent interview on the Russia-24 television channel, spoke further about the matchup.
“Sure, we need a fight with Ferguson. Yet, I do not pick opponents. Actually, I have never done that,” Nurmagomedov said.
“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”, the champion continued.
It’s hard to see what Ferguson can do at this point as he is certainly the worthiest contender to face Nurmagomedov, even more so than Poirier. Hopefully for combat sports fans, it happens soon as “The Eagle” believes he has just a few more fights remaining in his MMA career.
“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.
“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.”
Khabib Nurmagomedov’s interview with Russia-24 has been translated by Anastasiia Kravchenko for The Body Lock.