UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov doesn’t understand why Tony Ferguson is upset.
Taking to Instagram, Nurmagomedov left a lengthy message for disgruntled Ferguson, who was supposedly passed over by the UFC when they booked an interim lightweight title fight between featherweight champion Max Holloway and Dustin Poirier at UFC 236 on April 13 in Atlanta.
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I want to remind you guys, that before I become champion, I was close to the title fight 3 times and all 3 times I missed my opportunity. First was in July 2016 when I was offered to fight in Ramadan month and I turned it down, second was UFC 205 NYC when I was offered a title fight, bout agreement signed, but my title was given away, you know the story. Third time was UFC 209 where I was hospitalized and almost died. But after every single fail I were said: you missed your chance, earn your shot with one more victory. Tony you had your chance and you missed it, and that’s your fault only. You know that I’m disqualified and can’t fight, but it’s not fair to strip me off the title, I fought 3 times in 9 months. I won and defended my belt. As a fighter you deserve a title fight, you are great fighter and opponent, but now you have to fight or wait for my DQ to be over and fight(but UFC doesn’t want it). I don’t understand your offenses, if you fell down, you got to get up, not complain. #ufc #mma #ufclightweight
“Tony you had your chance and you missed it, and that’s your fault only,” Nurmagomedov wrote. “You know that I’m [suspended] and can’t fight, but it’s not fair to strip me off the title, I fought 3 times in 9 months. I won and defended my belt. As a fighter you deserve a title fight, you are great fighter and opponent, but now you have to fight or wait for my [suspension] to be over and fight (but UFC doesn’t want it). I don’t understand your offenses, if you fell down, you got to get up, not complain.”
This message is just the latest chapter in the never-ending saga between the 155-pound rivals.
The two lightweights were scheduled to fight at The Ultimate Fighter 22 Finale in December 2015 before a broken rib forced Nurmagomedov out of the bout. The fight was then immediately re-booked, this time at UFC on FOX 19 April 2016. But this time, citing a lung injury, Ferguson pulled out of the contest.
The two fighters were once again booked to throw down at UFC 209 in March 2017. But, as as become the norm, the bout fell apart after Nurmagomedov was rushed to the hospital due to complications with his weight cut. Ferguson would later win the interim title after submitting Kevin Lee at UFC 216.
However, in a cruel twist of fate, Ferguson suffered a freak knee injury just days before his fourth scheduled fight against Nurmagomedov, forcing the UFC to strip him of his interim championship. Nurmagomedov would later win the vacant title against Al Iaquinta at UFC 223 followed by a successful title defense against Conor McGregor in their highly publicized title fight at UFC 229 in October. Ferguson, oddly enough, wound up finishing Anthony Pettis on the very same card, pushing his win streak to 11-straight while seemingly securing a fifth shot at Nurmagomedov.
But with Nurmagomedov suspended for his involvement in the post-fight melee at UFC 229, fight officials will now look to crown an interim champion in the meantime. Nurmagomedov is banned until April at the earliest, but has vowed to sit out until his teammates, Zubaira Tukhugov and Abubakar Nurmagomedov, are done with their suspensions in October 2019.