Does Tony Ferguson Have the Skills to Defeat Khabib Nurmagomedov?

Published 05/05/2021, 1:33 PM EDT
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – MARCH 06: Tony Ferguson poses for photos during the UFC 249 press conference at T-Mobile Arena on March 06, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)


Tony Ferguson returns this month at UFC 262 as he fights Beneil Dariush. The former interim lightweight champion is currently on a 2-fight skid. His 12 fight winning streak in the UFC’s lightweight division was brought to an end by Justin Gaethje at UFC 249. Ferguson was originally set to fight Khabib Nurmagomedov for the championship, but that didn’t materialize because of Nurmagomedov’s inability to travel to the US due to the coronavirus.

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That wasn’t the only time a scheduled fight between Ferguson and Nurmagomedov failed to materialize. In fact, the duo was slated to fight five times in total, but all of those resulted in cancelations. Many believed ‘El Cucuy’ was the kryptonite that the Russian never had. Ferguson’s unique set of skills also supported that fact.

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Here we take a look at how Ferguson could have troubled Nurmagomedov and if ‘The Eagle’ had the remedy to neutralize Ferguson’s offerings.

Tony Ferguson vs Khabib Nurmagomedov: how the fight would have played out

Nurmagomedov’s grappling prowess is his go-to strength. 29 men have tried, but none have been successful to stop his takedowns. All of his opponents have been mauled. So, it would be fair to assume Nurmagomedov would take Ferguson down to the canvas as well. But that’s where things might get interesting.

JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA – MAY 09: Tony Ferguson of the United States prepares to fight Justin Gaethje of the United States prior to their Interim lightweight title fight during UFC 249 at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena on May 09, 2020 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)

Ferguson is a decorated wrestler himself and has great ground game from the bottom position. Also, he has an uncanny ability to slice up his opponents with lethal elbows. Fights against Josh Thomson, Kevin Lee, and more demonstrate the dangers that Ferguson possesses when he is taken down.

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Nurmagomedov has never even been hurt in a fight. But that could have changed if he fought Ferguson. ‘El Cucuy’ likes to create carnage inside the Octagon. He also has an immense ability to take shots but still not get fazed. So, there was a huge possibility that he would have sliced up ‘The Eagle‘ and opened him up and taken him to an unknown territory, had they fought.

Whether that would have been enough to beat Nurmagomedov, we don’t know. But, if anybody in the UFC’s lightweight division can give Nurmagomedov a nightmare, it’s ‘El Cucuy‘. Fans can’t still get over the fact that they didn’t get to see this mega fight.

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Apratim Banerjee

837 articles

Apratim Banerjee is an MMA author for EssentiallySports and has been writing professionally for almost a year. Before his current gig, Apratim worked as a UFC writer for Sportskeeda. A long-time MMA fan, Apratim has developed a critical eye for the sport that has helped him transfer his vast knowledge to his copies and give hardcore and casual readers a detailed insight into the fights and fighters.

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