TONY Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov are cursed. There is no other way to explain how they have been booked to fight each other on four separate occasions only for fate to intervene each time.
In 2015, it was Nurmagomedov’s rib. In 2016,TONY Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov are cursed. There is no other way to explain how they have been booked to fight each other on four separate occasions only for fate to intervene each time.
In 2015, it was Nurmagomedov’s rib. In 2016, it was Ferguson’s lung. In 2017 it was Nurmagomedov’s death-defying weight cut. This time it’s Ferguson’s knee: At a media obligation on Thursday, the interim lightweight champion turned to say hello to someone he wasn’t expecting to see and tore a ligament in his knee, according to ESPN.
The news received a predictably unsympathetic response from fellow lightweights Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz.
These fools pull out more times than I do with my dick.
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) April 2, 2018
Lol these guys can’t even make it to war..
— Nathan Diaz (@NateDiaz209) April 2, 2018
Thus dies the interim lightweight title fight that was supposed to headline UFC 223 in Brooklyn on Sunday (AEST). Luckily, an even better fight has risen from the ashes to take its place.
Having overcome his own injury that kept him out of a recent title defence against Frankie Edgar, featherweight champion Max Holloway (19-3) stepped up to save UFC 223 and is now set to face Nurmagomedov (25-0) for the lightweight title. While Holloway isn’t undefeated like Nurmagomedov, he has won his past 12 fights, stretching back to 2014, and his last loss came against Conor McGregor.
According to UFC president Dana White, whoever wins on Saturday night will be the lightweight champion.
So many square offs, never a fight.Source:Getty Images
It is expected that McGregor, who is still listed as the lightweight champion on the UFC’s website, will have his title stripped when the cage door closes Saturday.
“As soon as these guys step in the ring and throw a punch, it’s on for the title,” White told ESPN. “Whoever wins, wins the title and we’ll see what happens with Conor over the next several months. I know he had expressed some interest in fighting in September.”
The spectre of McGregor looms large over UFC 223 because the Irishman has history with both Holloway and Nurmagomedov. On top of that, McGregor’s most impressive on-paper achievement is the fact he became the first person in UFC history to hold two belts at the same time. One of those belts is up for grabs on Saturday night, while the other is currently around Holloway’s waist.
McGregor earned the featherweight title and exploded into superstardom in 2015, when he knocked out Jose Aldo in just 13 seconds. From there, McGregor set his sights on the lightweight title and, after a two-fight sojourn with Nate Diaz, he earned his second belt by knocking out Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden in 2016.
McGregor hasn’t fought in the cage since and instead spent 2017 flirting with and eventually boxing Floyd Mayweather in a money fight for the ages.
A champ champ? (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)Source:Getty Images
While McGregor was gone, Holloway began to follow in his footsteps. Weeks after McGregor beat Alvarez, the UFC stripped McGregor of his featherweight title — which he never intended to defend — and set up an unofficial four-man tournament to find the next champion. In the tournament’s final match, at UFC 212 in June 2017, Holloway beat Aldo for the featherweight belt via a third-round KO. Holloway then one-upped McGregor by beating Aldo in a rematch six months later.
Now, Holloway has the chance to become the second person in UFC history to hold two belts at the same time. And if he does earn the lightweight title in Brooklyn, he’ll have done it in the same area McGregor did: New York City.
Nurmagomedov, meanwhile, has a longstanding feud with McGregor that also began at UFC 205. Having pounded Michael Johnson for three rounds, Nurmagomedov took the mic and famously called McGregor a “chicken.” The dig stuck, and McGregor eventually turned it into a chicken sandwich endorsement deal with Burger King.
The Dagestani grappler may not have a title to his name, but many MMA experts believe him to be the best lightweight in the world. By winning on Saturday night he can prove just that. At least until McGregor makes his dramatic return.
Ronda spurns awkward question0:33
UFC: Ronda Rousey appeared on ESPN’s Golic and Wingo and awkwardly avoided questions about her MMA career.
- March 28th 2018
- 23 days ago
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