It’s not an exaggeration to say that fans have been waiting almost a decade to see Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson fight in the middle of the Octagon. The two elite lightweight stars have been booked to face each other on five separate occasions, but unfortunately, the sport’s gods didn’t want to bless us with such joys.
We’re now at a stage whereby an MMA bout is off the table with Ferguson riding a four-fight losing streak and Khabib being retired. However, in an interview with Ariel Helwani, ‘El Cucuy’ proposed something a bit different that would finally allow them to square off.
“I believe that when his dad [Khabib’s] said we were supposed to compete, I believe that. I would love to be able to coach against him in The Ultimate Fighter, how about that? You know, best man wins on the team. I guarantee my coaching is a lot better than yours, Khabib. Not a lot of people understand that.”
“I built a team for a 12-fight win streak, and I can definitely build a team again.”
“I have nothing personal against him, besides him running away for the pandemic and being a scared dude, but I gotta respect that family [comes] first.”
It’s not what we’ve all been dreaming of, but this could be exactly what The Ultimate Fighter needs to become a household show again – if the UFC still wants to get behind it, that is.
Could it actually happen?
Khabib Nurmagomedov is enjoying his days as a coach and a promoter, playing a huge role in the growth of Eagle FC as well as the continued success of his friends and family around him in mixed martial arts.
He could always dip his toe back in the water in this manner but given how intensive TUF can be in terms of the schedule they have to keep, we don’t anticipate that he’d be overly keen on it.
Ferguson, therefore, will probably be left empty-handed, and will instead have to pursue another idea.