There’s understandably some hesitation on the part of the fans as the clash between these two lightweight phenoms once again edges closer to becoming a reality.
On four separate occasions, we have been forced to watch as this tantalising showdown has fallen apart – sometimes in the most dramatic of fashions, leading many to brand the matchup as cursed.
Never before have two fighters within the same division collided in their respective athletic primes when bolstered by the type of winning streaks both of these guys bring to the table.
Tony Ferguson, the former divisional interim-champion, is currently riding a twelve-fight unbeaten streak – racking up the heads of esteemed names such as Edson Barboza, Rafael dos Anjos, and Donald Cerrone on his way towards this long-awaited crack at undisputed gold.
Khabib, oddly enough, has technically tied El Cucuy’s run of form with twelve straight victories inside the octagon, however, he has contested two of those fights at a catchweight due to a pair of failed attempts at making the 155lb limit.
With April 18, 2020, now looking like the date that we’ll finally see these two throw down, the father of the current champion gave his opinion on the fight and how important is to both the two fighters involved as well as the sport as a whole.
Speaking during a recent interview with RTSport, Abdulmanap cited the turbulent history while declaring the contest as the most important since the promotion’s inception back in 1993.
“Because this isn’t the first attempt, I think it is one of the most important events in this sport. It was planned four times and called off twice because of Khabib and twice because of Tony. Millions of fans are waiting for it.
“There’s never been anything like this in UFC history. It’s the most important fight in UFC history.”
Giving credit where it’s due to his son’s rival, Abdulmanap went on to explain how Khabib is continuing to grow his MMA skillset and that while they are supremely confident, they are in no way downplaying in the threat posed by Ferguson.
As both a coach and a mentor to Khabib during his astonishing rise through the fight-game, Abdulmanap has played a key role in orchestrating the era of dominance his fighter has been able to establish in the sport’s strongest division.
Now, ahead of what could well be the champ’s greatest test, the patriarchal figure of Dagestan MMA has promised that the best is still yet to come from The Eagle.
“It is important not only for me but for my republic, my country, and all our supporters.”
“Throughout all this time we were able to improve our skills in different aspects, especially striking technique.
“We surprise [opponents] more and more each time. Javier [Mendez] promises to surprise this time but Khabib won’t stray from his father’s plan.”
“First of all, [Tony’s] got good endurance, a good winning streak. He’s been caught, but he finishes all his fights with submissions, cuts or technical knockouts. He has a good arsenal, he is a worthy opponent and we are preparing accordingly.”