Dustin Poirier thinks Khabib Nurmagomedov poses more problems for Conor McGregor than Tony Ferguson.
Tony Ferguson might be the UFC interim lightweight champion, but the fight fans want to see next is Conor McGregor vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Ferguson beat Kevin Lee to win the interim strap at UFC 216, but Khabib wow’d fans with his three-round drubbing of Edson Barboza this past weekend at UFC 219.
The undefeated Nurmagomedov (25-0) is one of the most feared grapplers in the sport and sets a frenetic pace, which is what makes a championship bout with McGregor so intriguing.
McGregor, the official UFC lightweight champ, is the most dangerous striker in the division but his back-to-back fights with Nate Diaz revealed chinks in the Irishman’s armor: most notably his grappling and cardio. McGregor was submitted by Diaz in the second round at UFC 196 but came back to win a majority decision at UFC 202.
Top-seven lightweight contender Dustin Poirier, who was knocked out by McGregor in 2014, believes Nurmagomedov is the tougher match-up for ‘The Notorious’ for a number of reasons.
“I think Tony would have a higher percentage of getting caught with a big shot,” Poirier told Luke Thomas in a recent interview, per MMA Mania’s Andrew Pearson. “He fights with his head up a lot, he’s long and lanky, he kind of uses unorthodox footwork that puts him out of position a lot. He’s a good wrestler for sure, but he’s not as grinding and as gritty as a Khabib who’s just going to walk you down and put you against the fence and stuff. Definitely Tony can control guys and get on top of him and win rounds like that, or even submit guys, but I just think its a tougher fight for Conor.”
— MMA on SiriusXM (@MMAonSiriusXM) January 5, 2018
Although Nurmagomedov wants to fight McGregor and Ferguson on the same night, it’s looking like ‘The Eagle’ will take on ‘El Cucuy’ for the interim title to determine a challenger for McGregor, according to UFC president Dana White.
Several fighters, including Poirier, have called for McGregor to be stripped of the title if he doesn’t defend it in the coming months. Despite criticism from fans and fighters, the SBG Ireland standout has insisted that fighters must ‘lobby’ for fights with him.