Top lightweight contender Tony Ferguson has lifted the lid on his strategy for beating the undefeated Khabib Nurmagomedov when the pair meet in the co-main event of UFC 209 on March 4th from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
The clash between the two top contenders at 155-pounds will likely reveal who the next challenger to Conor McGregor’s 155-pound title will be and California native Ferguson is sure that he will be the man who has his hand raised.
The fighter nickmaed ‘El Cucuy’ has a 22-3 record overall in MMA and comes into this fight on the back of nine successive wins in the UFC. Nurmagomedov also boasts a similarly impressive record of 8-0 in the UFC and 24-0 overall and while that run of success means that Ferguson will respect his skills in the cage, he also doesn’t foresee himself being overwhelmed by the Russian.
“Absolutely, you have to respect him”, Ferguson said in a recent interview with Fox Sports Live. “He has [a] 24 win streak but it’s a padded record. I’ve seen it all the time. As far as conditioning goes, he’s only got two rounds in him. I’ve been going four rounds, five rounds. Mexico City, we’re supposed to fight elevation. I was ready to go another 10. I was ready to go man.”
Ferguson was first supposed to face Nurmagomedov in December of 2015 and then again in April of last year but both bouts were canned due to injury. This time around though, and barring any late injury woes, we will finally see the two lightweights square off in the cage against each other and Ferguson outlined how he sees having his hand raised on March 4th.
“Basically we’re going to make him quit”, Ferguson said in an online Q&A. “We’re going to put the pressure on this guy. He only prepares for two rounds, as far as his padded record goes.
“I’m not a stranger to conditioning. The act of resting, and doing all these different types of things, mental toughness and ice baths and doing all these things that nobody wants to do is what keeps me inside that octagon and keeps me fresh.
“The strategy with Khabib is to beat him mentally. I’ve seen this guy quit and I’ve seen him cry in the sambo match. I’m going to do that same thing. I’m going to hit him in the stomach so hard, he’s going to take a knee and he’s going to ask for me to stop. But the only person who is going to stop [it] is Herb Dean or John McCarthy.”
Whatever happens, you can expect a wild fight when these two finally throw down next month.