UFC 223 was supposed to be headlined by a much anticipated lightweight showdown between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony ‘El Cucuy’ Ferguson in March. However, few days before the event, Ferguson tore his LCL in an unfortunate accident leading to being pulling out of the fight. This was the fourth time the fight had to be cancelled.
Lightweight Al Iaquinta who was fighting on the same card jumped in as a late replacement to save the main event. Nurmagomedov defeated Iaquinta via unanimous decision to become the UFC lightweight champion. Ferguson however was not impressed with Nurmagomedov’s performance.
“I was not impressed by Khabib’s performance,” Ferguson told Helen Yee at the UFC Hall of Fame ceremony yesterday. “Obviously his conditioning was in check a little bit. Al Iaquinta, he did what he had to do and he was an Ultimate Fighter, he went all five rounds. It was exactly what I expected was gonna happen. [Khabib] got exposed, it’s what I knew.”
Front runner to face Nurmagomedov now is the former UFC featherweight and lightweight champion Conor McGregor. However there were rumours of UFC booking Nurmagomedov versus Ferguson if negotiations for the McGregor fight were not finalised.
“Don’t know, haven’t heard s**t,” Ferguson said about a fight with Nurmagomedov potentially being re-booked. “What I know is I’ve been keeping my nose clean, making sure that my leg is healing right. As far as how the fights are gonna go, the fans want to see myself and Khabib. That’s what they really want to see. Conor’s got his s**t going on – slap on the wrist, whatever, that’s not my business – so if the s**t happens and they want to go with Khabib, let’s do this. Let’s have some fun with it.”
After undergoing surgery to repair his torn LCL around three months ago, Ferguson looks to return back in September.
“I’m about 90 percent right now,” Ferguson said. “Obviously, I want to get back in there. September looks good for me.”