The former interim UFC lightweight champion is set to make his return to the welterweight division this weekend at UFC 279 opposite Li Jingliang. “El Cucuy” hasn’t competed at 170 pounds since winning Season 13 of TUF in 2011, but he’ll be hoping to snap a 4-fight losing skid against Jingliang.
Ferguson had previously made an offer to retired champion Khabib Nurmagomedov to serve as coaches on TUF, which “The Eagle” apparently accepted. Speaking at the UFC 279 media day, the 38-year-old revealed what’s kept the deal from officially coming together.
“We got the green light, bro,” Ferguson said. “We’re waiting on Khabib’s fat ass. I actually called him ‘Khabib.’ Did you guys hear that shit?’ We’re waiting on Fathead’s fat ass. And I’m gonna be real with it. We got the green light from the brass, we got the green light from his coach, we got the green light from his agent…and the reality: we’re just waiting for Khabib’s fat ass.
“I’m Sure We’ll Make It Entertaining”
If there were a Hall of Fame for MMA bouts that fans clamored for but that never actually occurred, the matchup between Ferguson and Nurmagomedov would occupy a place of unique distinction.
Whereas bouts like Anderson Silva vs. Georges St-Pierre or Brock Lesnar vs. Fedor Emelianenko were largely only ever talked about, the UFC legitimately made every possible effort for Ferguson and Nurmagomedov to meet in the Octagon. A fight between the two lightweights was officially booked on 5 occasions, and each time the fight fell through for everything from pre-fight tiramisu to freak knee injuries.
With Nurmagomedov now comfortably retired after reigning as the UFC lightweight champion, it appears highly unlikely the fight will ever occur.
As much as fans wanted to finally see the two square off in the cage, Ferguson thinks they can still have some fun on TUF if Khabib really is interested.
“So I mean, he’s the one that’s scared. Regardless of if it’s a fight or not, we’ll go and coach and I’m sure we’ll make it entertaining.”
What do you make of Ferguson’s claim that Khabib is the one holding up a season of TUF with the two men serving as coaches?