On April 7th this year, UFC223 will take place, with the headline fight between Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov the jewel in the crown of the Brooklyn event.
A bout between the two lightweights had been scheduled for UFC 209 on March 4, 2017, but Nurmagomedov had to pull out after suffering a bad weight cut.
But now, over a year later, the two fighters are finally set to trade blows in the octagon. Speaking to MMA fighting, Nurmagomedov's agent Ali Abdel-Aziz laid out his concerns for the Dagestani's opponent:
I feel sorry for Tony Ferguson, because on April 7, Tony Ferguson is probably never gonna fight again. I’m concerned for his well-being, I’m serious. I’m not just saying that to promote a fight. I’m concerned for him. I’m hearing some reports — and I respect Eddie Bravo, he’s a legend — I’m hearing that he’d accept, he’d be more than happy for Khabib to take him down. And I’ll tell you something … he’s not gonna be a normal human being. He’ll be in trouble. Because if he accepts takedown from Khabib and he will take him down, he will disfigure his whole entire face.
Strong words from the Egyptian. Abdel-Aziz went on to claim that where Nurmagomedov went easy on former opponents Edson Barboza and Michael Johnson, and that Ferguson wouldn't be so lucky:
It’s gonna be brutal, it’s gonna be ugly, it’s gonna be bloody. Because Khabib was very nice to Barboza, he was very nice to Michael Johnson. But I’m telling you something. One thing that Khabib is not gonna do, he’s not gonna be nice to Tony Ferguson. My prediction: Tony Ferguson will probably need to take two years off or maybe not come back after this fight. I’m concerned — again, one more time — I really mean it. I’m concerned with Tony Ferguson’s health. He will not be the same. He might not fight again.”
While this is probably just bluster from Abdel-Aziz it does set up what is a tantalising match up between two very contrasting fighters.