On this day five years ago, the MMA world was still eager to see a fight between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson. In this article, Khabib does everything in his power to make the fight happen before it was ultimately booked as an interim lightweight title bout at UFC 209, which he had to pull out from due to weight-cutting complications.
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On This Day Five Years Ago…
[ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED JANUARY 2, 2017, 4:59 PM]
HEADLINE: Khabib Nurmagomedov Willing To Pay Tony Ferguson to Fight
Author: Adam Haynes
Khabib Nurmagomedov took to social media this morning to offer Tony Ferguson a cash incentive to fight.
Conor McGregor may be the lightweight champion of the world, but there is a strong case to suggest that no one is more deserved of a title shot than “The Eagle”. Nurmagomedov is currently the #1-ranked lightweight in the UFC, and intends to secure a showdown with “The Notorious” by ensuring a clear path is made to a bout with the Irishman.
The 28-year-old Dagestani has been pragmatic in his efforts to secure a shot at the 155lb strap in the past, and he will hope that his challenge to Ferguson is accepted in order to edge closer to his designs on UFC gold.
A much-anticipated bout between Nurmagomedov and Ferguson hit the skids last week after it emerged that Dana White had called it off on the grounds of a dispute over pay from the American’s camp. White is reluctant to negotiate on a contract that has recently been signed by Ferguson, suggesting that “El Cucuy” should honor the existing terms of their agreement. White [via Fox Sports] insisted:
“We were trying to make that fight — Tony said he will not do that fight unless he makes the same exact money that Khabib makes. Khabib has a different deal. That ain’t happening. Count that out.”
“He has a contract that he just signed, not long ago. I honor every contract no matter what it is. I get into some (expletive) deals, too. You’ve got a guy who’s making tons of money but he was a champion, but that was the deal I cut. I cut that deal and I signed it and I’ve got to live with my deal.”
Hey @TonyFergusonXT if the @ufc don’t want to pay you I’ll pay you 200k extra on your purse let’s make this fight now you have no excuse
— khabib nurmagomedov (@TeamKhabib) January 2, 2017
Nurmagomedov has handled this latest setback accordingly, offering $200,000 dollars to Ferguson from his own pocket. It appears that Russia’s premier UFC star will not entertain the idea of fighting anyone else other than Ferguson, going as far as suggesting that he is being kept from reaching the top via clandestine politics by the UFC top-brass. “The Eagle” took to Instagram recently to confirm that his sights are firmly set on the 155lb throne:
“This message to UFC — it is clear to everyone that you hiding Conor from me. But stop lying to your fans like I don’t want fight with Aldo, I’m ready to fight with anyone in my division. Give me relevant fight, so you won’t be able to hide the belt from me after. But not the fight, where people say after my victory: he is too small, Khabib too big for him etc”.
While there are many fights out there for the sambo-expert, not many can deny his credentials as a worthy challenger to McGregor. With the Dubliner having all but confirmed his temporary hiatus from the octagon for the foreseeable future, Nurmagomedov knows that he must remain active and solidify his status as the next man in line for a title shot. A victory against Tony Ferguson will surely stake his claim for a “red panty night”, and propel him closer to the fight which many believe is long overdue.
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