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UFC rival claims he can tempt Khabib out of retirement (VIDEO)


Tony Ferguson made the comments ahead of UFC 279

Tony Ferguson has claimed that former UFC rival Khabib Nurmagomedov hasn’t hung up his gloves and that he is the only man capable of coaxing the Russian out of retirement.

Honoring a promise made to his mother in 2020 not to continue fighting after father Abdulmanap passed away from Covid complications that year, Nurmagomedov famously bowed out of MMA at the top with a 29-0 record and as the UFC lightweight champion after submitting Justin Gaethje at UFC 254.

Two years on from the announcement that shocked the fight game, a fading Ferguson, who sadly never met Nurmagomedov due to a myriad of reasons when both men were at their peak, has questioned its validity while on the verge of returning to welterweight against Li Jingliang at UFC 279 this weekend. 

“I am the one to get him out of retirement,” claimed Ferguson, who was scheduled to face Nurmagomedov no fewer than five times, at a UFC 279 media day.

“That dude’s not retired,” El Cucuy added.

“I am the one to get him out of retirement. (Khabib) is not retired.”

Tony Ferguson says his rivalry with Khabib isn’t over.#UFC279 | Full video: https://t.co/gbQKoGBn7G pic.twitter.com/MdUo62NCbq

— MMA Junkie (@MMAJunkie) September 8, 2022

“When it comes down to it, when you lose somebody, you have to take some time off, you have to think and you have to do whatever you have to do but his father had said the fight to make was myself and Khabib,” Ferguson went on.

“Before he passed away, he did say that and Khabib has that in his mindset.”

While Nurmagomedov has been busy with his own Eagle FC promotion and coaching Islam Makhachev, who will fight Charles Oliveira for the vacant lightweight strap next month, the Dagestani has entertained talk of facing off against Ferguson as rival coaches on a potential future season of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF).

“We got the greenlight,” Ferguson pointed out, with UFC president Dana White showing interest in the meeting.

“We’re waiting on Khabib’s fat a**. I actually called him Khabib. Did you guys hear that s**t?,” Ferguson asked.

“We’re waiting on ‘Fathead’s fat ass and I’m going to be real with you, we got the greenlight from the brass, [we] went and talked to them.

“We got the greenlight from his coach. We got the greenlight from his agent. His agent comes up and tries to hug me, he was all in pink, f**king looked like Pinky from Friday,” Ferguson said, in reference to Ali Abdelaziz and the cult 90s comedy starring Ice Cube and Chris Tucker.

“It was funny as f**k. You can spot him anywhere. He comes up and he’s like ‘Let’s do this’. In reality, we’re just waiting for Khabib’s fat a**.”

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UFC boss reveals hopes for Khabib-Ferguson clash

“He’s the one that’s scared,” Ferguson claimed. “Whether it’s a fight or not, we’ll go and coach and I’m sure we’ll make it entertaining.”

As Ferguson implied, even if the pair don’t have to face off as is common with rival coaches at the end of a TUF season, there should still be fireworks if they are heading rival training camps.

“He’ll break before the fighters around that team and I’ve still got some good material that I haven’t used yet so I’m just waiting for that thing,” Ferguson, a TUF winner himself in 2011, predicted.

Winless in his last four outings, Ferguson is essentially in the Last Chance Saloon and another defeat on Saturday could see him cut from the promotion and the likelihood of a flightless TUF campaign across from Nurmagomedov perhaps decreasing. 

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