Ben Askren isn’t counting Tony Ferguson out in his bout with Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Ferguson is scheduled to challenge UFC lightweight champion Nurmagomedov on April 18. UFC president Dana White has remained adamant that the date will stand amid the coronavirus pandemic. UFC 249 had to be moved from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY and may not take place in the United States.
Askren Says Ferguson Has A Shot At Beating Khabib
Askren finds Khabib vs. Ferguson to be a “fascinating” fight. He told Submission Radio that he can see Ferguson pulling off the victory to hand Nurmagomedov his first pro MMA defeat (h/t MMAJunkie.com).
“Khabib’s obviously going to get takedowns, and he’s been so dominant with ground-and-pound,” Askren said. “But at the same time, Tony is so active off his back and he’s good with the elbows and he’s got a lot of tricky stuff. I think it’s going to be totally fascinating. I’m excited to see what happens.
“Tony’s a great fit, because he’s not going to stay put on bottom. Tony can take a lot of damage, which, you know – Khabib will dish it out. Tony doesn’t get tired. And then Tony’s a high-volume striker. He’s not a power puncher, which I don’t think is the right mix to beat Khabib because I think you have to kind of fight him hard, stuff a few takedowns and volume strike him. And I think that’s how you’re going to beat him – and that’s what Tony does. So there’s a possibility.”
If this bout does indeed come to fruition, then it’ll be Ferguson’s first opportunity at the undisputed UFC lightweight championship. “El Cucuy” is a former interim UFC lightweight title holder but he was stripped of the gold after suffering an injury.
As for Nurmagomedov, this would be the third time he puts his 155-pound title on the line. He’s had successful title defenses against Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor. Both bouts ended in a submission victory for “The Eagle.”