Conor McGregor’s victory over Eddie Alvarez may have been a massive fight at 155, but Khabib Nurmagomedov says his bout this Saturday with Tony Ferguson, will be the greatest lightweight bout for the UFC.
McGregor faced Alvarez at the November 12th, UFC 205 card, and became the first man in UFC history to hold two belts simultaneously, by stopping the latter in round two. Since McGregor is one of the biggest names in combat sports, and because he held the featherweight belt going into UFC 205, it was pretty, pretty big deal.
Well, this weekend at UFC 209, Nurmagomedov will take on Ferguson for the interim belt. In Nurmagomedov, you have a guy who’s gone 24-0 to date, and in Ferguson, you have a fighter who has won nine straight.
When it was announced that McGregor was taking a break from fighting, Nurmagomedov made it clear he wanted no other bout, except one with Ferguson. More recently “The Eagle” had this to say about Saturday’s fight, during an appearance on “The MMA Hour” (quote via MMA Fighting):
“A lot of people are gonna watch this fight,” Nurmagomedov said. “My fanbase is huge. This is very big fight. In my opinion, this is the greatest lightweight fight ever in the UFC.”
“I feel like Tony is a little bit nervous, like all of my opponents,” Nurmagomedov added. “But for me, it’s fun. I enjoy this. I talk with him, I enjoy a little bit joke with him, make him nervous.”
It remains to be seen what kind over viewership UFC 209 draws, but Nurmagomedov has repeatedly noted that he has a massive fanbase in his native Russia. So, when you add those fans to the ones Nurmagomedov has made throughout the rest of the world, he very well could be a bigger star than we here in North America realize.
Fans and draw aside, from a technical standpoint, Ferguson – Nurmagomedov is one of the best lightweight match-ups we’ve seen to date.