‘Help Him Retire’- Islam Makhachev Wants Dream Fight Against Tony Ferguson

Published 03/08/2021, 1:09 PM EST
LAS VEGAS, NV – OCTOBER 07: Tony Ferguson celebrates after his submission victory over Kevin Lee in their interim UFC lightweight championship bout during the UFC 216 event inside T-Mobile Arena on October 7, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)


Islam Makhachev finally got to fight. After a near two-year absence because of injuries and fighters not stepping up, Makhachev got to fight at UFC 259. He did so against unranked Lightweight Drew Dober. While he was scheduled for a higher-profile fight against Rafael Dos Anjos in 2020, that hasn’t happened.

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When RDA pulled out of his fight against Makhachev last October, there was a big push for Tony Ferguson to be the replacement fighter on the card. However, Tony declined and later fought and lost to Charles Oliveira in December. Now that the two are closer together in the rankings, Makhachev is taking his shot.

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“My dream fight is Tony Ferguson because we have some deal with him a couple of years. Now he pressures Khabib. I don’t know, I don’t understand this guy. But I just want to help him retire. He’s old and his mind a little crazy, so I just want to help him.”

Saying that he will retire Tony Ferguson is quite a big deal. Ferguson is one of the scariest fighters in the cage. While his aura has definitely dissipated, it is incredible to see Makhachev be as confident as he is about this fight.

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Islam Makhachev: Could he handle Tony Ferguson?

BOSTON, MA – JANUARY 20: Islam Makhachev of Russia celebrates after his knockout victory over Gleison Tibau of Brazil in their lightweight bout during the UFC 220 event at TD Garden on January 20, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Islam Makhachev could definitely handle Tony Ferguson. However, handling an opponent and beating an opponent is not the same thing. Ferguson is one of the most dangerous Lightweights in the UFC. But the questions around his ability are very real right now. Considering how Khabib Nurmagomedov‘s camp thinks Islam is the next Khabib, this would be the perfect fight.

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Tony and Khabib never got to fight, it was a cursed booking. However, Tony can fight someone who has the exact same style in Makhachev. Beating him will help Tony reboot his title prospects in the division. However, it seems like Makhachev would be the favorite heading into it.

Makhachev may be the next Khabib, but he needs to start getting legitimate top-tier wins to establish himself like that. A fight where he tries to ‘retire’ Tony Ferguson would serve as the perfect place for a fighter like Islam to establish himself.

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Ishaan Bhattacharya

1510 articles

Ishaan Bhattacharya is an NBA, NCAA Basketball, and Combat Sports writer at EssentiallySports. Currently, Ishaan is pursuing a Post Graduate Degree in Journalism from Xavier's Institute of Communication. Previously, Ishaan has written for The Indian Express, The Quint, Sportskeeda, and WrestleClub.

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