There are some notable matchups littered throughout the history of mixed martial arts that have failed to come to fruition. Fedor Emelianenko vs. Brock Lesnar, Fedor Emelianenko vs. Randy Couture Anthony Pettis vs. José Aldo, Anderson Silva vs. Georges St-Pierre – and one in particular that springs to mind right away, is Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Tony Ferguson.
Whilst all of those above-mentioned matchups are likely long dead and buried, a pairing of Khabib and Ferguson is still something the UFC is willing to try yet again, according to promotional leader, Dana White.
We’ve been here before unfortunately with both Khabib and Ferguson, five times, in fact – with the two still somehow yet to stand opposite each other on fight night inside a closed Octagon. Injuries, both freak and common, weight-cut botches, and even travel restrictions amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic shelved a pairing as recent as UFC 249 in March of this year.
With Khabib set to attempt to unify the lightweight crown once more at UFC 254 on October 24 opposite current interim titleholder, Justin Gaethje – and the promotion currently working on securing Ferguson another opponent following a failed targeted pairing with fellow former interim best, Dustin Poirier – White has claimed he has no reservations towards booking the undefeated Dagestani and Ferguson yet again, despite what history tells us.
“If Khabib (Nurmagomedov) does beat (Justin) Gaethje, you get Tony Ferguson another fight, which we’re working on right now,” White explained to Sports Illustrated. “And hopefully that fight with Khabib happens because I know people want to see it. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a fight fall apart as many times as those two. It almost scares me to make the fight again. What’s going to happen? An asteroid comes to earth? That’s the level of bad this thing is.”
While Khabib prepares to meet Gaethje on ‘Fight Island’ soon – the Arizonian earned his crack at Khabib when he filled in for his Dominance MMA stablemate at the above mentioned, UFC 249 event – stopping Ferguson’s stunning twelve fight rise with a fifth-round knockout.
With the lightweight division constantly developing, especially with the recent addition of former three-time Bellator 155-pound champion, Michael Chandler who will serve as backup for Khabib and Gaethje at UFC 254 if needs be, the promotion is also reportedly working on a high-stakes rematch between former world champions, the aforenoted, Poirier and Conor McGregor for January 21st. – with the former reportedly accepting terms to meet the Dubliner once again.