Tony Ferguson takes aim at Khabib Nurmagomedov ahead of Justin Gaethje bout at UFC 249

Tony Ferguson has refused to be drawn on a potential showdown with Khabib Nurmagomedov, insisting the lightweight isn’t on his radar at this moment in time. Ultimate Fighter season 13 winner Ferguson was scheduled to face the Russian last month in the main event of UFC 249 before the coronavirus outbreak scuppered their long-awaited meeting.

The elusive Nurmagomedov vs Ferguson match-up, however, will be booked again if the latter can get past Justin Gaethje, whom he’ll meet this weekend in the main event of UFC 249.

Victory over the in-form Gaethje will see Ferguson reclaim the interim lightweight title – which he was stripped of in April 2018 – and earn a unification fight against ‘The Eagle’.

The prospect of getting his hands on Nurmagomedov, who he’s been scheduled to fight a staggering five times now, was put to Ferguson during the virtual UFC 249 media day on Thursday.

Ferguson didn’t want to waste his breath on ‘The Eagle’, saying: “I don’t give a s***, that dude doesn’t exist.”

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The in-form Ferguson insists he bears no ill will towards Nurmagomedov, although he does believe he’s a “piece of c**p”.

He told ESPN: “I don’t have anything against the dude, but the dude is a piece of crap.”

Ferguson is, however, still frustrated Nurmagomedov returned to his homeland during the global pandemic, a decision which ultimately proved to be fatal for their clash.

“I’m going to want to fight this guy if he doesn’t want fight; you can’t force somebody to fight,” he said.

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“I told him I was going to mop the mat with his hat, and you know what, he ran away.”

Unlike Nurmagomedov, Ferguson has the utmost respect for Gaethje, who originally signed up to face him on a few weeks’ notice.

He said: “The only person that’s game is a dude that’s over from America and he’s the one that’s going to do it, man.”

Despite his long-awaited title shot being within touching distance, Ferguson’s sole focus is on registering his 13th consecutive victory.

“It really doesn’t matter about Khabib or anybody else anymore,” he said. “It’s faith, family and friends.

“It’s XTA home team. And I’m going to go out there, like I said, and get that W no matter who you put in front of me.”

UFC 249 fight card

Tony Ferguson vs Justin Gaethje (interim lightweight title fight)

Henry Cejudo vs Dominick Cruz (men’s bantamweight title fight)

Francis Ngannou vs Jairzinho Rozenstruik (heavyweight bout)

Jeremy Stephens vs Calvin Kattar (men’s featherweight bout)

Greg Hardy vs Yorgan de Castro (heavyweight bout)

Prelims

Donald Cerrone vs Anthony Pettis (welterweight bout)

Alexey Oleynik vs Fabricio Werdum (heavyweight bout)

Carla Esparza vs Michelle Waterson (women’s strawweight bout)

Uriah Hall vs Ronaldo Souza (middleweight bout)

Vicente Luque vs Niko Price (welterweight bout)

Bryce Mitchell vs Charles Rosa (men’s featherweight bout)

Ryan Spann vs Sam Alvey (light-heavyweight bout)

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