“Felt gratitude towards Ferguson”: Khabib says rival helped him stay in sport much longer than initial plan

Former UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov disclosed in his autobiography Khabib Time that he thought he owed a peculiar kind of debt to longtime rival Tony Ferguson.

Nurmagomedov reveals in a passage that his intention to challenge Ferguson and punch him in the head helped him to rebound from three serious injuries throughout his career.

Nurmagomedov said that if he didn’t have the ability to humble Ferguson, he would have likely retired from MMA even earlier than he did due to the career-threatening injuries he sustained along the way.

‘The Notorious’ referred to Ferguson as a ‘poorly brought up dude’. He compared Ferguson to bullies he met in Makhachkala during his adolescence.

“Sometimes I felt certain gratitude towards that guy. I have already written that my desire to return after three severe injuries and having almost decided to end my career was ignited because of my overwhelming impulse to meet El Cucuy and punch him on the head so that he would look at life differently,” he said.

“That was the way it was. The possibility of finally silencing this poorly brought up dude became one of the main reasons for me returning to the cage. I have a set of emotions towards this guy that would flood me in the streets of Makhachkala at the age of sixteen or twenty, when I saw in front of me an impudent lout who was boasting how strong he was.”

“I had never missed an opportunity to thrash such a smarta** and at the same time to check which of his claims about his abilities was true. So I looked at Ferguson and continue to do so with eyes full of sarcasm and anger. I assure you that my attitude promised no good for Tony.”, said Nurmagomedov in his autobiography.

Fantasy may never come true

Ferguson and Nurmagomedov seem to hate each other, and their feud is evidently personal. Ferguson was also the only opponent identified by fans and observers as posing the greatest threat to Nurmagomedov’s undefeated career.

Despite being booked five times in the past, this one was a fantasy fight that never came true.

Fans have now agreed that the bout will never happen since Khabib Nurmagomedov has retired.

The rivalry between ‘El Cucuy’ and Nurmagomedov, on the other hand, persists, as Ferguson’s remarks at a press conference ahead of UFC 262 demonstrated.

Read more: “We’ll tear him apart”: Khazmat Chimaev sends a big warning to Khabib Nurmagomedov

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