Tony Ferguson poses arguably the biggest threat to reigning UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, but Daniel Cormier believes ‘The Eagle’ is in a league of his own and will dispose of ‘El Cucuy’ without too much effort at UFC 249.
Speaking to MMA Fighting in a recent interview Cormier, who trains with Nurmagomedov at American Kickboxing Academy (AKA), said Khabib has looked phenomenal throughout training camp and explained why he thinks the undefeated Dagestani will overwhelm Ferguson on fight night.
“He was looking good,” Cormier said of Khabib before he flew back home to Russia to complete his training camp. “Dude was training hard. He was very focused. He was aware of the challenge that was out in front of him. He’s a guy who understands how difficult Tony Ferguson is to prepare for and how tricky he can be inside the Octagon.
“So I thought he was on point. I thought he was ahead of schedule. I thought he was a true pro’s pro. That’s his new thing. That’s his trash talk — ‘I am professional, brother, this is my thing, I am professional.’ So he was really locked in.”
“I’ve seen Tony Ferguson be so spectacular throughout the course of his career but I’ve also seen Tony at times struggle with the exact kind of game Khabib brings. The Kevin Lee fight — Kevin Lee was able to implement a really good game plan early in that fight but he got tired. Then Tony was able to take advantage of a mistake he made. I watched Abel Trujillo take Tony down and control him.
“Those types of guys, and granted that was a while ago, and Tony has improved vastly, those types of guys are able to do that and those guys are not on the level of Khabib Nurmagomedov.”
Cormier went on to explain what makes Khabib such a beast, crediting the UFC lightweight champ for his unrelenting takedowns and smothering, suffocating top control.
“His top control is smothering. His control. His understanding of grappling and grappling positions. It’s a new level,” Cormier said. “I don’t know how else to say it. The guy is just a beast.
“I think he’s going to provide a lot of problems for Tony. Honestly, he’s much better standing that people want to give him credit for it.”
“How good do you have to be that everyone you fight knows exactly what you’re gonna do. It’s no secret what Khabib is going to you and he’s still going to implement that game plan to a T. That tells you the level of what this guy is. You know what’s coming.
“My man Dustin Poirier trained for it. He knew but the moment Khabib grabbed him it was probably like ‘I’ve trained with guys before but they didn’t feel like this guy’. I just believe he’s so good at what he does, he doesn’t even have to hide it.”
UFC 249: Khabib vs. Ferguson is expected to take place next month, April 18 at a venue TBA.