While we see some quality fights booked each and every year inside the Octagon, not all of the fans’ dream pairings come together, with many often remaining in the realms of fantasy rather than the steel surroundings most had hoped for.
Perhaps there’s little debate over which of the two mentioned above is the most frustrating matchup…
A collision between Ferguson and Khabib is widely regarded as one of the most desired fights that never came to fruition. The pair were scheduled to fight each other on five separate occasions, and yet fans were never treated to a showdown inside the cage.
After injuries and health problems on both sides saw contests at The Ultimate Fighter 22 Finale, UFC on FOX 19, UFC 209, and UFC 223 collapse, the promotion made one final attempt at putting on the dream bout at UFC 249 in 2020. After COVID-19 restrictions forced Khabib out, the fight appeared forever doomed.
That was all but set in stone when Justin Gaethje ended the former interim champion’s lengthy win streak and went on to share the Octagon with the Dagestani at UFC 254 in Abu Dhabi. After “The Eagle” defended the lightweight gold for the third time against “The Highlight,” he announced his retirement.
In a video uploaded to his YouTube channel, former UFC Middleweight Champion Michael Bisping suggested that Khabib and Ferguson’s cursed matchup is the biggest fight that got away in the UFC.
“Number one (is) Tony Ferguson, ‘El Cucuy,’ taking on ‘The Eagle’ Khabib Nurmagomedov. Now, the fact that this bout never went ahead is just absolutely insane,” said Bisping. “This fight was matched up, contracted, training camps were taking place… five times! … It is just unbelievable that the fight never took place… This is number one bullsh*t… That truly is the one that got away.”
While many will no doubt agree with the Englishman’s selection, hold your horses, Chael Sonnen has something to say…
Sonnen Names A Fight That Surpasses Khabib/Ferguson
In every GOAT discussion, two names are almost always present: Anderson Silva and Georges St-Pierre. While the former ran roughshod over the UFC middleweight division between 2006 and 2013, defending the title 10 successful times, “Rush” enjoyed similar dominance at welterweight, brushing aside nine challenges to his second reign between 2008 and 2013.
Despite ruling over their respective weight classes during the same period, and with some talk of the pair colliding for a superfight, the matchup never ventured beyond discussion, even with the Brazilian’s apparent willingness to go down in weight for it.
According to Sonnen, a former opponent of Silva, that was a massive shame. During a video uploaded to his YouTube channel, the former two-division title challenger named Silva vs. GSP as the greatest fight that got away on MMA’s biggest stage.
“For me, it was Anderson Silva vs. Georges St-Pierre. I think that was the fight that got away,” said Sonnen. “Those two never touched each other… I think you guys are gonna agree with me, St-Pierre versus Anderson… probably gets a ‘wow’ factor… St-Pierre vs. Anderson, I don’t know if they so much as shook hands (for that fight).” (h/t Sportskeeda MMA)
While Khabib vs. Ferguson looked destined to clash on five separate occasions, St-Pierre vs. Silva seemingly didn’t come as close to reaching the cage.
As well as never being booked, UFC President Dana White has previously suggested that the bout wasn’t even close to coming together, with the Canadian having no interest in sharing the Octagon with the Brazilian.
Who do you agree with, Chael Sonnen or Michael Bisping?