Last week, news broke that the much-anticipated fight between Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov will headline a UFC card next year in April.
MMA enthusiasts have wanted to see the two fighters take on each other for years. The last four attempts have been derailed by injuries, illnesses, and Tiramisus. Maybe the fifth time will be the charm.
Khabib Nurmagomedov is a monotonous and predictable fighter who’s so good at what he does that he’s never been defeated. In fact, he’s lost just one round in his entire career. Tony Ferguson, on the other hand, is the most unpredictable fighter in the UFC.
Due to the difference in their fighting styles, the MMA community believes that a fight between the two is going to be a spectacle. The likes of Joe Rogan think Khabib could meet his match in Tony Ferguson because of his ability to fight off the ground and his unmatched endurance.
But there are three good reasons why the fight will likely be one-sided and will end with Khabib dominating Ferguson.
Tony Ferguson’s fights are usually full of elbows, blood and a lot of fighting on the ground. The former interim champion is never afraid to let opponents take him down. But he can’t afford to take the same risk against Khabib.
Khabib takes all his fights to the ground, where he’s an invincible monster. No fighter has been able to stop him from doing what he does best and its unlikely Ferguson will change that.
Ferguson’s last fight against Kevin Lee showcased his weak takedown defense. Lee, whose ground game is much weaker than Khabib’s, was able to take Tony down three times.
Ferguson eventually came out on top in the fight against Lee. However, Khabib Nurmagomedov will find it much easier to exploit Tony’s weak takedown defense, leaving the latter vulnerable to some heavy grounding-and-pounding.
Ferguson has exceptional ability to dominate fights off his back. In fact, he’s probably the only UFC fighter who has a YouTube compilation of winning fights when on his back.
Then again, Ferguson has never faced anyone whose wrestling prowess even comes close to that of Nurmagomedov’s. Khabib has perfected the art of controlling his opponents on the ground and once Tony is taken there, he will be under consistent pressure.
There’s no denying the fact that Tony Ferguson has superhuman endurance. He is even known for his crazy training methods like running up hills for warm-ups and working with Wing Chun. His conditioning allows him to keep punching his opponents with the same intensity throughout the fight, as evident in the bout against Donald Cerrone.
However, his endurance won’t be of much use against Nurmagomedov. The Dagestani will stick to his game plan and will succeed in taking the fight to the ground, where Ferguson’s conditioning won’t be of much use.
In conclusion, while this is surely going to be the biggest threat Khabib has faced so far, his competence on the ground will be too much to handle for Tony Ferguson.
Since it is impossible to find a sparring partner like Khabib, most fighters are shocked when they first experience his brute strength and competence. And Tony Ferguson will likely be as well.
This article was edited by Sam Bourgi.