Tony Ferguson is clearly not impressed by Khabib Nurmagomedov or his undefeated record.
While Ferguson is currently listed one spot behind Nurmagomedov in official UFC rankings, he doesn’t see himself as No. 2 to anybody but especially to the Dagestani native with an unblemished record.
Considering that the two top ranked lightweights are likely going to meet in early 2017, Ferguson is wasting no time picking apart Nurmagomedov’s game while also taking shots at his resume as well.
“I’ll take his 24-0 record — it’s (expletive) padded dude,” Ferguson told FOX Sports recently. “Look at some of the legit fights he’s had and then look at mine. I’ll take my record over his any day. His record is so padded. He’s a paper champ. Get out of here.
“He says that belt is his? Get out of here. That (expletive) is up for grab. Unless they take that away from Conor (McGregor) so he better get his (expletive) together.”
According to Ferguson, the UFC had reached out to him to potentially face Nurmagomedov as early as January, but the bout didn’t come together after he says the Russian lightweight needed more time to prepare.
The two fighters then engaged in a war of words on Twitter on Monday regarding the scheduling of their bout, which appears to still be in negotiations at this time.
When the fight finally happens, Ferguson is ultra confident that he will expose Nurmagomedov as a fraud, who has been beating up on lesser competition to keep his record undefeated throughout his entire career.
“For Khabib you need a guy like me to fight and beat him,” Ferguson explained. “You need to put the pressure on, check his conditioning, put his neck in choking territory and really seriously put his heart into contention. See how bad he really wants that fight and wants that win.”
Ferguson believes he’s better in every aspect of the fight including the ground game where Nurmagomedov has dismantled the majority of his opponents in the UFC.
Most recently, Nurmagomedov punished top 10 ranked fighter Michael Johnson for the better part of three rounds before finishing him with a kimura late in the fight. Ferguson gives credit to Nurmagomedov for getting the win, but he knows it will be a much different — and much tougher — matchup when they get into the cage together.
“Khabib’s got sambo not wrestling. My wrestling is far superior to his,” Ferguson said. “He’s got decent sambo and decent jiu-jitsu but he doesn’t use it to his advantage. He uses a lot of energy. He uses a lot of unnecessary punches to try and ground and pound his opponents. He gets so inside of himself where he has to get so mad at his opponent to do that. If we fight five rounds or we fight three rounds, that guy is going to expend so much energy, he’s not going to be able to last with the kind of fighter that I am.
“Michael Johnson’s slick and he’s got good footwork and Khabib’s not used to that. I think he got a little bit shocked right away. He was getting hit like I was hitting RDA (Rafael dos Anjos). Forcing somebody to shoot that puts him into snap down city territory. For me unless you know the detour route to that place, you’re not going to survive.”
Whether the fight hits the mat or stays standing, Ferguson is ready for whatever Nurmagomedov throws at him but he questions whether or not the No. 1 ranked lightweight will be prepared what’s coming at him in return.
“Khabib doesn’t have hands. I’m going to out box this dude. I’m going to be too slick for him. He’s flat footed,” Ferguson said.
“I’m going to take this dude apart.”