Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Tony Ferguson is one of the most desired fights in the history of the UFC. The last of the many times this dream fight was scheduled was at UFC 223, but due to an injury sustained by Ferguson the week of the fight, the bout was unable to take place. Though the disappointment was bitter and the wound was fresh for MMA fans upon learning the news of Ferguson being pulled from the bout as what was suspected to be a cruel April Fool’s joke, the UFC immediately had a suitable replacement in Max Holloway.
Unfortunately, Max Holloway was also unable to make it to UFC 223 due to complications with his weight cut, an issue that would ultimately be a bugaboo for the featherweight champion for much of 2018. When Holloway did return to competition, it was in emphatic fashion, handing Brian Ortega his first professional loss at UFC 231 via 4th round doctor’s stoppage to retain his featherweight title.
Since then, there has been talk of Max Holloway moving up a weight class, with Dana White himself leading the charge for Holloway to step up to 155. White went on to say that Holloway has plenty of “opportunities” at lightweight. As it turns out, one of those opportunities, according to lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, does not include the fight we would have seen at UFC 223, as Nurmagomedov believes that Max will have to prove himself before getting that particular “opportunity:” (via MMA Team Dagestan):
⚡️@BlessedMMA said he was interested in this fight. Will this fight happen?
– @TeamKhabib: Max is doing well, this is interesting to me, he is my potential rival.. but this is different category for him, other body structure, another wrestling. I think he needs… pic.twitter.com/apENBIrUqF
— MMA TEAM DAGESTAN (@MMATeamDagestan) December 14, 2018
“@TeamKhabib: Max is doing well, this is interesting to me, he is my potential rival… but this is different category for him, other body structure, another wrestling.” Khabib said at a recent event.
“I think he needs to do some fights if he goes into lightweight division, to test your capabilities. This is purely my opinion. After all, in my weight there are those who deserve it more; @TonyFergusonXT, @DustinPoirier .”
Do you agree with Khabib? Does Max Holloway need to test himself at lightweight before getting a title shot against Khabib Nurmagomedov?