Tony Ferguson, Khabib Nurmagomedov. Photos_ MMAnytt, Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Tony Ferguson SLAMS Khabib Nurmagomedov – “should be stripped his title”

"He’s scared, he’s running"

Tony Ferguson did not hold back, and proceeded to mock his rival Khabib Nurmagomedov for his withdrawal from UFC 249. 

UFC 249 has gone from the most anticipated event of the year to a near disaster. As the world copes with the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, most sports events have been cancelled outright. While UFC president Dana White has done his utmost in trying to salvage the event, the final nail in the coffin may have occurred recently.

UFC lightweight champ Khabib Nurmagomedov formally withdrew from UFC 249, and opponent Tony Ferguson reached out to the media to mock and ridicule the title holder.

“Obviously, I was very upset. I feel more for everybody else that’s actually going through some hard times. It’s a little bit different, of course, I’m a little bit pissed,” Ferguson told Ariel Helwani of ESPN. “He had the opportunity to stay here. He was in Abu Dhabi, he had his chance to be able to come back before the borders were closed in Russia. [He] decided to go back to Dagestan, did not finish his camp. The guy does not want to fight. He’s scared, he’s running. He should be stripped of his title.”

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Nurmagomedov’s withdrawal seems understandable, however. He left the United States for his home country of Russia, seemingly trying to comply with directives from the UFC. While in Russia, the nation closed it’s borders and grounded all air travel. Even if Nurmagomedov had a change of heart it would be inherently difficult for him to leave Russia at this time, as it’s uncertain when the travel restrictions will be lifted.

This didn’t stop Ferguson from throwing shade at Nurmagomedov. This was the fifth time the two were scheduled to meet, and the fifth time that the match up has fallen out.

“I’m more down to fight than anybody, any time, anywhere unless the circumstances are completely different. The fight’s against Khabib. This is the guy. Everybody just wants this fight. I get what he wanted to do,” Ferguson continued. “Obviously, he’s here, his family is back home in Dagestan, it is what you’ve got to do but he had the opportunity and he did the exact same thing at UFC 209.

“He knew that he wasn’t cutting weight very good. He said it already that he was having a hard time cutting weight, focusing and doing everything else like that. To me right there, he’s running away. He ran away,” he continued. “He obviously knew what he could do to help save this card, he didn’t want to take any of those chances. Everybody’s taking risks. He bailed out. It’s pretty hard to explain but he bailed out.”

Reportedly, the UFC have offered Ferguson a bout with Justin Gaethje instead, though it’s uncertain how likely it is that the bout goes through.

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