Khabib Nurmagomedov engaged in a heated rivalry with Tony Ferguson for several years. But in the aftermath of UFC 249, the reigning lightweight champion put personal feelings aside when addressing Ferguson’s heartbreaking loss to Justin Gaethje.
Originally, UFC 249 was going to be headlined by Nurmagomedov and Ferguson but the coronavirus pandemic squashed those plans. With Nurmagomedov stranded in Russia with no way to travel back to the United States his fight with Ferguson was cancelled for the fifth consecutive time.
Ferguson then accepted a short notice fight against Gaethje instead but the battle didn’t go his way and he ultimately suffered a fifth-round TKO loss. In the process, Ferguson’s 12-fight win streak came to an end and he left the octagon with a broken orbital bone as a result.
Following the fight, Nurmagomedov put past grudges behind him and offered words of support to Ferguson in the wake of his defeat at UFC 249.
“Whatever happened is in the past,” Nurmagomedov wrote in a message directed at Ferguson on Twitter. “Heads up Tony, I hope everything is good with you and your family.
“When your son grow up, he’ll be proud with you.”
Whatever happened is in the past. Heads up Tony, I hope everything is good with you and your family. When your son grow up, he’ll be proud with you. @TonyFergusonXT
— khabib nurmagomedov (@TeamKhabib) May 10, 2020
It’s not quite the end of the rivalry these two had imagined when first being booked together back in 2015.
While Ferguson’s loss doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll never get the chance to face Nurmagomedov in the future, he’s got to start his climb back up the lightweight ladder again following the loss to Gaethje.
As for the undefeated Russian, he’ll continue training in his native Dagestan with hopes to unify the lightweight title in a fight with Gaethje later this year.
There’s no word when that fight might happen but Gaethje mentioned late summer as a possibility, which would coincide with Nurmagomedov’s expected return to action after observing Ramadan through May 23.