The chief support to UFC 209, comes from Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Tony Ferguson, and it is for the interim Lightweight belt. The pair are #1 and #2 contenders in the division, with current belt holder Connor McGregor, looking to face the winner should he return to the octagon this year. We look ahead to this contest.
It’s very rare for the two top contenders in the division, who are willing to face each other, for an interim belt. With McGregor taking an extended break from the sport, the pair will be looking to put on a performance, to try to lure him back to the octagon.
Khabib most recently fought at UFC 205, where he watched history being made by Connor, he faced Micheal Johnson on the prelim show and put on a great performance. Between rounds he was arguing with UFC president, Dana White, for a tittle shot. Nurmagomedov is currently 24-0 and has never held UFC gold but he is not one for trying. Like many of his opponents will tell you he is an animal when he steps inside the octagon, mauling his opponents, until they can’t defend themselves.
He has been inactive over the last couple of years due to injuries, but is finally healthy and is looking to make history himself, by becoming the first UFC Muslim champion. His UFC following has increased over the years, with fans loving his ground game, as well as his ability to submit his opponents.
His opponent on the other hand is coming off the back of a career highlight win, against former champion Rafael Dos Anjos, in a gruelling 5 round war in Mexico City. Tony Ferguson is having the best run of his careers with 7 straight wins and believes he is the best lightweight after his victory over RDA. Ferguson is also another fan favourite with his freestyle fight style, his unorthodox approach causes problems for his opponents, because they just don’t know what he is going to do next. He punches and kicks from awkward angles which makes great viewing for fans.
The clash of styles should make this an interesting contest, Khabib would like to have the pace slow and the fight on the ground, whilst Tony would be more comfortable fighting on the feet with his unpredictable style. Many believe this is a 50-50 fight with the pair agreeing the with the critics. They understand that they are the two best in the division and something will have to give when they step inside the cage on Saturday.
We haven’t seen the best of Khabib, he has the ability and talent to be one of the UFC’s biggest stars, but has been marred by injuries. He was recently offered to fight Jose Aldo, who was knocked out in 13 seconds by McGregor, but declined due to the fight not benefiting his career. Jose Aldo defiantly has a score to settle with McGregor and may have to move up to lightweight to avenge his loss. They both called each other out and had to convince UFC bosses that this was the right fight to make.
Dana White will be hoping that this card will live up to expectations, with the previous PPV events not impressing the UFC president, as well as not pleasing fans with the matchups. However his shouldn’t be as worried as he has two tittle headline bouts which could headline any show, which should deliver on all the expectations. The winner will almost certainly fight for the full tittle as some point this year, whilst the loser will go to the back of the queue.
Check back here for the fight result and analysis.