Ali Abdel-Aziz, the manager of Khabib Nurmagomedov, has an admittedly terrifying prediction for how his fighter’s matchup with Tony Ferguson will go down.
After so much talk of last-minute pull-outs, unprofessionalism, and tiramisu, UFC 219 served as a well-needed reminder to some of MMA’s less-invested fans of how good Khabib Nurmagomedov actually is.
For three-rounds – and Barboza was glad it was only three – Khabib put on one of the most dominant performances in recent memory. For lack of a better word, he mauled his Brazilian adversary with little to no problems.
Simply put, it was vintage Khabib in his finest form.
Barboza is by no means a pushover either but like it has been said on many occasions before, there are levels to this, and to date nobody has managed to come close to Khabib’s.
Nurmagomedov’s manager Abdel-Aziz spoke to MMAFighting in a recent interview in which he promised a brutal end to the rivalry that has been brewing between his fighter and his UFC 223 opponent Tony Ferguson over the course of the last few years.
On three separate occasions, the UFC have attempted to set this fight up and for one reason or another, at every time of asking, the bout has fallen flat at the last hurdle.
Abdel-Aziz made it very clear that Nurmagomedov would not afford Ferguson the same pleasantries as he allowed both Barboza and his UFC 205 opponent Michael Johnson before him.
“I feel sorry for Tony Ferguson, because on April 7, Tony Ferguson is probably never gonna fight again. I’m hearing that he’d accept, he’d be more than happy for Khabib to take him down. And I’ll tell you something, he’s not gonna be a normal human being.
“He’ll be in trouble. Because if he accepts takedown from Khabib and he will take him down, he will disfigure his whole entire face.
“It’s gonna be brutal, it’s gonna be ugly, it’s gonna be bloody. Khabib was very nice to Barboza, he was very nice to Michael Johnson. But I’m telling you something. One thing that Khabib is not gonna do, he’s not gonna be nice to Tony Ferguson.
“My prediction, Tony Ferguson will probably need to take two years off or maybe not come back after this fight.
“I’m concerned with Tony Ferguson’s health. He will not be the same. He might not fight again.”
Three failed fights worth of bad blood will (hopefully) culminate in a lightweight showdown for the ages at UFC 223 on April 7 in Brooklyn, New York.
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena