One top 10 ranked UFC featherweight doesn’t believe Khabib Nurmagomedov can hang with Tony Ferguson in the standup.
Many believe Ferguson should be next in line for a shot at Nurmagomedov’s UFC lightweight title. Even “The Eagle” has said that “El Cucuy” deserves the opportunity. Ferguson is on a 12-fight winning streak and hasn’t been defeated since May 2012.
Jeremy Stephens Says Khabib Can’t Match Ferguson’s Standup
Speaking to Helen Yee, Jeremy Stephens explained why he feels Nurmagomedov would have his hands full against Ferguson (via The Body Lock).
“Stylistically, they’re both bad matchups,” Stephens said in a recent interview with Helen Yee. “Khabib’s got that one wrestling takedown. But I’ve rolled with Tony. He’s probably one of the strongest guys I’ve ever felt. He’s scrambly, he does awkward stuff. Khabib just doesn’t have the standup to mess with him.
“It’s hard to kind of lowpick Ferguson because his footwork is so good. He [Nurmagomedov] can’t do that like he did to Conor. Conor was able to come out, pressure him, throw some kicks, push kick, keep him at bay. You’re dealing with a different animal when it comes to Ferguson and Ferguson is not scared of Khabib. I think Ferguson will give it to him.”
Nurmagomedov is a perfect 28-0 in his professional MMA career. He’s had two successful lightweight title defenses, submitting Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier. Nurmagomedov recently told Arab News that he’s looking to wrap up his career in two or three years (h/t MMAJunkie).
“I think a couple of years,” Nurmagomedov said. “Two, three – maximum three. I think maybe two years, in my opinion, because I don’t want to fight all my life because I know it’s very hard. I know a lot of young, hungry guys are coming, and I know to always be undefeated, undisputed, is not almost impossible – I think it’s impossible.
“You can watch in history. If you watch all athletes like soccer, boxing, MMA, everywhere, one day you’re going to lose. You have to know when you need to stop. I think maybe two years.”