In the UFC 209 co-main event in Las Vegas on Saturday, second-ranked Tony Ferguson will face unbeaten top contender Khabib Nurmagomedov for the interim lightweight title. Ferguson not only predicts victory, he believes it will be a one-sided fight.
Although he predicts a dominant performance, “El Cucuy” is approaching the title fight as he has every other fight in his career.
“This is another fight. This is nothing different. There’s no other difference besides he’s another name on that wrestling chart, man. I’ve always looked at it that way and I’m never going to stop, no matter how much clout and how much people feed it up to be and how big a head everybody else has. I’m going to keep doing the same thing, which is being me and letting myself flow inside that Octagon. And nobody’s going to stop me on my way to victory,” he said during the UFC 209 media conference call.
Nurmagomedov is a world champion in Sambo and grappling. He holds the UFC record for the most successful takedowns in a fight with 21. Amazingly, he set the record in a three-round fight. But Ferguson doesn't care about Nurmagomedov's grappling accolades. He believes that he'll have the advantage in that department.
“From pure wrestling, I’ve got 20-plus years. I‘ve got 20-plus years doing this sport, and I did so well in it I actually took up other sports because of it. I got bored with wrestling. I love that I did it for so long, (but) I want to learn how to box,” he said.
“This guy has no chance against my wrestling. He thinks Sambo is awesome. I got respect for the sport. I got respect for where he comes from, but my wrestling is far superior and my style is just completely different than his. My freestyle background is going to put… I’m going to run circles all over this guy,” Ferguson added.
Ferguson plans to be aggressive and take the fight to his Dagestani opponent. He wants to end Nurmagomedov's 24-fight winning streak and make the case that he's the best featherweight in the world.
“I’m going to come after him hard. I played multiple sports growing up. I’m a two time All-American, three time All-State, state champ, national champ. This dude is not on my level. As hard as I (expletive) work and what I represent, my talent and my states from California to Michigan, in between, and all around the world, nobody is going to take this away from me.”