It’s a daunting task when covering the build-up of a fight that has previously been canceled on more than one occasion, especially when you come from the world of sports betting. Many talked about not wanting to jinx one of the most highly anticipated matchups in UFC history, but it looks like we couldn’t see the fight play out with no controversy. Withdrawals and injuries have plagued this contest for the past four years, and now a global pandemic has put the entire card in jeopardy. But UFC President Dana White vows that the main event will go on. No longer at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, but still on April 18th at a still as-yet-undetermined location, two of the world’s greatest mixed martial artists will collide at UFC 249.
For the current undefeated UFC Lightweight Champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, his upcoming title defense as a career-defining matchup. Without certain names on the Russian’s hit list ticked off, he won’t be able to retire undefeated with his head high. Khabibs legacy will be tarnished until he defeats the man who was stripped of the title due to injury, Tony Ferguson.
The bookmakers are forever going to put their odds behind the undefeated fighter and rightfully so, but against a fighter in Tony Ferguson that hasn’t suffered defeat since 2012, Khabib is the big favorite.
Tony ‘El Cucuy’ Ferguson (25-3-0)
One of the craziest, most unorthodox martial artists the UFC has ever been graced with will finally have his chance at title redemption when he takes on the undefeated Russian. The tension between both fighters has been brewing for years, but it won’t be El Cucuy’s first rodeo; the UFC veteran has been fighting as an active member of the UFC roster since 2011.
If you’re new around here, do yourself a favor and spend your free time watching the history of Tony Ferguson’s career; since the day he stepped in a UFC Octagon as a young kid he’s been delivering fight of the night performances and highlight reel finishes.
It wasn’t until his fourth UFC bout that Tony would suffer defeat under the UFC banner; Michael Johnson remains the only fighter to overcome Ferguson’s efforts. I guess El Cucuy got the memo, because, since that day he’s remained undefeated and is riding a 12-fight win streak, 9 of those contests were also ended inside the distance via submission or knockout.
Tony Ferguson finishes all his opponents by TKO en route to winning The Ultimate Fighter (u/ajelzrulez) pic.twitter.com/5sS1zaBo7b
— r/MMA (@MMAOnReddit) March 31, 2018
Amongst the ultra-impressive martial arts skills is a unique character who’s kept fans entertained outside the Octagon just as much as he has in it. The chips would seem to be stacked against him, but with the fight of his life just around the corner, nobody should underestimate the ability of Tony ‘El Cucuy’ Ferguson.
Khabib ‘The Eagle’ Nurmagomedov (28-0-0)
The undefeated champion, the king of the Dagestan Mountains, the Eagle who wrestles with the strength of a bear will attempt to make his mark once again, at the expense of Tony Ferguson.
One year after the arrival of Tony Ferguson saw the debut of another UFC prospect that went by the name of Khabib Nurmagomedov. The difference being, Khabib has still yet to taste defeat and didn’t face “an early career learning curve”.
The Russian born undefeated champ has made a name for himself with the elite offensive grappling offense that he possesses and hasn’t lost a single round in his career, let alone the entire fight. The most obvious career highlight for the champ was the dismantling of world-famous Conor McGregor and most recently, Dustin Poirier. Khabib has defeated nearly everybody in the division who poses a threat in possibly the most difficult weight class in the company. One name remains for the Eagle…
Khabib defeats Dustin Poirier via Submission #ufc244 #ufc #khabib pic.twitter.com/VXlzYzdJDt
— MMA ALERT (@AlertMma) September 7, 2019
He’s taken on the who’s who of the lightweight division with one man in El Cucuy remaining. Undeniably, Khabib will go down in history as one of the greatest lightweight fighters in the modern era of combat sports; with or without his win over Tony Ferguson, his career and legacy have already cemented a lifetime of achievements that most UFC fighters won’t come close to.
With that said, if Khabib defeats Tony Ferguson in convincing fashion at UFC 249, it’ll be hard to argue with the idea that he’s the best to ever do it.
• Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Tony Ferguson (UFC Lightweight Championship)
UFC 249: Ferguson vs. Gaethje (formerly UFC 249: Khabib vs. Ferguson) was scheduled to take place April 18, 2020 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Due to ongoing concerns regarding the coronavirus, the event was rescheduled for May 9, 2020 and relocated to VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida.