If you’re an avid MMA follower, you already know what’s been going down between these two UFC beasts. If you’re not, don’t worry! We’ve got you covered. Here’s our complete breakdown of the Khabib versus Ferguson bout to bring you up to speed.
Previous setups and reasons for cancellation
Khabib vs Tony has been a bout that has kept fans glued to their seats and rightfully so. But, it has been cancelled 4 times now. Is 5th time the charm? Here’s a list of all the setups, along with the reasons they got cancelled:
- The Ultimate Fighter 22 Finale – Dec 11, 2015 (Khabib breaks a rib)
- UFC on FOX 19 – April 16, 2016 (Fluid in Ferguson’s lungs)
- UFC 209 – March 4, 2017 (Khabib hospitalized because of his weight cut)
- UFC 223 – April 7, 2018 (Ferguson blows out his knee tripping over a cable wire)
Why all the Hype?
During the course of these 4 setups, both of them backed out an equal number of times. Now, let’s talk about the odds. No doubt both fighters are at the top of their game. With Ferguson having a 12 win streak, and Khabib being undefeated going 28-0, this is definitely a fight worth looking forward to. Although the odds are a tad bit higher for Khabib than for Tony, they are definitely in the same range.
Sambo or Jiu-Jitsu?
Khabib’s fighting style is more aggressive, with his main focus on tackling, grappling, and ground-and-pound. He likes to bring his opponent down, ragdolls him into exhaustion, and then finishes off with a submission. Tony on the other hand is a submission specialist. He is also very aggressive with awkward angle striking, kicking, and a whole lot of other weird mix-ups. He’s good at creating space to gain firm footing and compose himself for his next plan of attack.
Their last Face-Off
Khabib and Tony faced-off at the UFC 249 pre-fight conference last Friday, and things got heated up between the two. A lot of trash talking went back and forth between the fighters, where Khabib got called “f****** fat”, and Tony got called “stupid”. Khabib said, “Nobody understands him. He’s stupid. That’s why nobody likes him. But he’s a very good fighter and I respect his skill. It’s the biggest fight of the year”.
One of the reporters asked Khabib if he was going to enter the cage with an emotional chip on his shoulder in the Tony fight, and whether or not it would have an impact on the fight. To this, Khabib replied that whenever he enters the cage, he keeps his cool, stays focused on the fight, never underestimates his opponent, and doesn’t let his emotions get the best of him.
Tony even brought his former interim lightweight belt to tease Khabib and get inside his head. Which he did, as was evident by Khabib’s expressions. Tony went ahead and put his belt on the floor and could be heard saying “Your belt vs mine”. The champ wasn’t having any of this and replied by kicking Tony’s belt.
In light of recent events
Due to the Corona virus pandemic, chances are the fight could be cancelled yet again. During the pre-fight UFC 249 face-off, ESPN reporter Marc Raimondi asked Dana White whether the virus could postpone the fight. Dana answered that the safety of his fighters is his number one concern and he would not take any decision that could jeopardize the safety and health of the fighters.
People have been patiently waiting for a very long time for this fight, and will be traumatized if it gets cancelled again. One reddit user suggested that, like many football leagues, the match could be held behind closed doors, with green screens surrounding the cage, giving fans the option to choose a background of their choice.
There are plenty of workarounds to make this legendary bout happen but sadly, with the entire COVID 19 situation, nothing’s for certain.