Nurmagomedov Had A Dominant Victory, But Doesn’t Deserve A Fight With McGregor…Yet
To say lightweight champion Conor McGregor wasn’t impressed with the #2 ranked lightweight Khabib Nurmagomedov’s victory over #4 ranked Edson Barboza is an understatement.
Many journalists, analysts and fans were very complementary of Nurmagomedov’s performance. The UFC even awarded Nurmagomedov a $50,000 “Performance of the Night” bonus. Just after octagon announcer Bruce Buffer announced the judges decision (30-25, 20-25, 30-24), UFC commentator Joe Rogan told him “Khabib, this fight cements you as the most dangerous contender by far in this talent-stacked lightweight division…”
But McGregor saw the fight differently.
McGregor (21-3) didn’t hold back when tweeting about Nurmagomedov’s (25-0) unanimous decision win over Barboza (19-5).
That Dagestani was dog shit the other night you's are all nuts. Game full of sloppy bums asking to be slept. Pay me my worth and Kings back.
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) January 1, 2018
Nurmagomedov tweeted back to McGregor and referenced McGregor tapping on a rear-naked choke to Nate Diaz at UFC 196.
Shut up #tapMashine #🐓
— khabib nurmagomedov (@TeamKhabib) January 1, 2018
Lightweight interim champion Tony Ferguson also responded to Rogan’s comments via twitter.
Yo @joerogan Last Time I Checked I Was The Fuckin Champ… U Trading The 10P Gear For A Hat?
— Tony Ferguson (@TonyFergusonXT) December 31, 2017
Ferguson won the interim belt when he submitted Kevin Lee at UFC 216. There are people calling for McGregor to fight Nurmagomedov. Dana White thinks McGregor will be back fighting in the UFC by the summer, so why not set up (another) fight between Ferguson and Nurmagomedov?
A fight between Ferguson and Nurmagomedov has been set up three times before, with Ferguson pulling out once and Nurmagomedov pulling out twice.
UFC fans and media seem to have a short-term memory. Yes, Nurmagomedov had another dominate victory and has yet to lose in his MMA career. However, he has only fought four times since 2014. Ferguson has fought, and won, nine times in that time span. McGregor has fought eight times in the octagon and once in the boxing ring, in that time span.
Also, let’s look at how the UFC would promote a fight between McGregor and Nurmagomedov . In his nine fights in the UFC, five of them have gone to a decision. He is a grinder in the cage, not so much a finisher. When putting together promos, fans don’t want to see takedowns, they want to see knockouts and submissions.
Nurmagomedov has pulled out of fights due to injures and weight cutting issues. That also makes it tough to put millions of dollars into promoting a fight that may not happen.
In Ferguson’s fourteen fights in the octagon, he won thirteen of them, with nine finishes. One of those finishes, was a submission win over Barboza, who Nurmagomedov beat up for three rounds, but did not put away. Not to mention, the UFC had Ferguson fight for the interim belt since McGregor has yet to defend the lightweight belt. If the UFC allows Nurmagomedov to leapfrog over Ferguson to fight McGregor, what’s the point of the interim belt?
Ferguson is recovering from surgery he had in December, so perhaps he would be ready to defend his interim belt in April-May, giving the winner time to recover to square off with McGregor sometime in the summer.
Nurmagomedov is one of the best fighters on the planet and just had an outstanding (despite what McGregor claims) performance Saturday night. But in no way does he deserve to pass by Ferguson and fight McGregor for the lightweight championship.