‘Right Now It’s Not Going to Happen’- Coach Mendez Shrugs off a Potential Fight between Islam Makhachev and Tony Ferguson

Published 08/13/2021, 10:04 AM EDT
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)


Dagestan native Islam Makhachev recently picked up a fourth-round submission win over Thiago Moises at UFC Vegas 31. His most recent victory has earned him the fifth spot in the division, and now the 29-year-old can finally get the top fights he’s been longing for.

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In his post-fight interview after defeating Moises, Makhachev mentioned he’d prefer a fight with Tony Ferguson. Majorly because of the history that the former interim champ shares with Khabib Nurmagomedov; and while a win over Tony Ferguson would add more credit to Makhachev’s name, coach Javier Mendez doesn’t see the fight taking place soon. 

” Islam has mentioned Tony in his interviews, this last fight. So obviously, you know people are going to want to see that fight because Islam mentioned that. And obviously Tony would probably be interested in that fight, you know, because he’s 0-3, and he still hasn’t mentally given up on it and his body’s still probably good enough to fight. So, he’s a great fighter and who knows? Maybe we’ll see that down the line. Right now it’s not going to happen, for at least the next two fights.”    

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 Makhachev is now on an eight-fight winning streak in the Lightweight division and is getting ready to face former champion Rafael dos Anjos at UFC 267.

Although Makhachev seemed quite intent on taking on Ferguson in order to prove ‘El Cucuy’ could never have won a fight with Nurmagomedov, it might not be the right time yet. Considering Ferguson’s recent track record, suffering three devastating back-to-back losses. 

One can imagine the fight making more sense if Ferguson can get back on the winning track first. Until then, Makhachev will continue to make his way to the top of the division.

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Will Islam Makhachev be as dominant as Khabib Nurmagomedov?

 It hasn’t taken long for fans to compare Makhachev to his friend and teammate Khabib Nurmagomedov. However, although both fighters have certain common traits and abilities, they both have their own fighting styles.   

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Khabib enjoys chain wrestling, taking his opponents down against the cage, and then unleashes his ground and pound. The same can be said about Makhachev however, we haven’t seen Makhachev be as confident and relentless in the cage yet.  

In the standup aspect, Makhachev has work to do, especially when he competes with high-level strikers in the top five. 

As of now, it seems too early to decide if Makhachev can be as dominant as Khabib. He certainly isn’t as good as Khabib in the wrestling department. However, this is only the beginning of his prime and there is a lot of time to grow and learn. 

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What do you think? Will Islam Makhachev be as dominant as Khabib Nurmagomedov? Let us know in the comments. 

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David Andrew

147 articles

David Andrew is an MMA author at EssentiallySports with a background in English Literature from St. Stephens College. Prior to his current role, David, who combines his passion for writing and combat sports, contributed to the MMA divisions at Sportskeeda and The Sportsrush.

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