Khabib Nurmagomedov Would Rather Smash Tony Ferguson’s Face Than Fight Conor McGregor
The Russian will return to face Edson Barboza in Las Vegas and will have a point to prove after pulling out of his interim UFC lightweight title fight with Tony Ferguson back at UFC 209. Speaking on Daniel Cormier’s Talk & Talker podcast this week, Nurmagomedov spoke about the upcoming fight with Barboza.
“He’s a very tough guy and he kicks so hard,” Nurmagomedov said. “To be honest, I think my boxing, my pressure and my wrestling is much better than him. My top control and my conditioning and my fight IQ, he’s a tough guy, but in my opinion, I think I am different level from Edson Barboza, but I respect him. I respect his team and I know his coaches, but this is my opinion. I’m not underestimating this guy because I have to take him down, everybody knows this.
“He has one of the best takedown defences, but I have a plan on Dec. 30 I’m going to show how I’m going to take him down and how I’m going to beat this guy.
“I’m not underestimating him, I respect him, I respect his skills, but in my opinion I have to fight for the title.”
“I deserve this, it’s not just about my eight fights in the UFC, but it’s about my whole career since like 2008.”
Nurmagomedov is focused on Barboza, but he’s already thinking about how he can work his way to the top of the mountain. Surprisingly, his desired path would see him fight Tony Ferguson rather than a red panty night against Conor McGregor.
“My plan is make weight, beat this guy and next I want a fight with Tony Ferguson,” Nurmagomedov said. “This is my plan. Me vs Conor is a good fight too, but I must, I have unfinished business with Tony Ferguson,” Nurmagomedov said.
“I really, really want to smash this guys face. This is what I want.”
The Russian then revealed the extent of his hatred for the current interim-UFC lightweight champion.
“Sometimes you just don’t like somebody and it’s ok,” Nurmagomedov added. “Like, I think everywhere, everybody, there’s somebody that doesn’t like you. You know what I like about Tony Ferguson? I can smash him and the UFC are going to pay me money.
“Not a lot of people can get the chance to like, sometimes you don’t like your neighbour, or sometimes you don’t like somebody you know, but you can’t smash them because you can’t go to jail and get in rouble with the Police. With Ferguson, no I don’t like this guy and I’m going to smash this guys’ face and the UFC are going to pay me. I love this.”