Khabib Nurmagomedov believes that he possesses the tool necessary to crack the riddle that is Tony Ferguson and hand him his first loss since 2012.
Not to say Khabib isn’t a riddle in his own right.
At 27-0, he holds the longest active win-streak in major MMA competition and with his last victory – a crushing domination of the former divisional king Conor McGregor, he made his argument for top-five pound-for-pound greatness water-tight.
Tony Ferguson, in many ways, is as close to a champion as one could get without actually possessing the title. His twelve fight win-streak is the type of form usually reserved for dominant strap-holders and yet, due to circumstances both inside and outside of his control, he has yet to have fought for an undisputed belt.
Ferguson’s UFC 238 beatdown of Donald Cerrone was a victory that in many ways served to remind us of what we already knew as far as this relentless lightweight contender is concerned.
Speaking in a recent interview with ESPN, the lightweight champ Nurmagomedov explained his thoughts on the man who many point to as the greatest threat to his unbeaten record and his most recent victory last weekend.
“It was an interesting fight, but it was a stand-up fight. This is not my style. I maul my opponents.
“I take them down, smash them, make them tired. My style is much different than Cowboy. Even if we’re talking about boxing, Cowboy is a very good kicker but he’s not a great boxer, he’s not a good top-boxer. He has a not bad jab, but it’s not enough. When someone pressures him he stops. Mentally he is not strong.
“I watched that fight. Maybe Tony think I’m going to strike with him like all of his opponents. No way. He is very skinny in his body, I’m going to take him, catch him, make him tired and then finish him.
“I am a completely different fighter than all of his opponents.”
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena