Khabib Nurmagomedov

Khabib Nurmagomedov says Tony Ferguson is the toughest opponent he’s faced which is motivating him

Khabib Nurmagomedov is extra motivated to fight Tony Ferguson on April 18 at UFC 249.

The two have been scheduled to fight each other four times in the past. But, for the fifth time, it feels even bigger. And, for the undefeated Dagestani lightweight champion, he says he knows how dangerous “El Cucuy” is. So, he’s more motivated than ever for this fight.

“I think, just my opinion, like last couple of years, I compete with guys like (Edson) Barboza, (Rafael) dos Anjos, Conor, Poirier, (Al) Iaquinta – all of these guys not tough like Tony Ferguson, and that’s why I feel like now I have real motivation,” Nurmagomedov told TMZ Sports (via MMA Junkie). “Because before, when I watch all these opponents I think, ‘OK, I can beat these guys.’ Of course I work hard, but right now, it’s like very, very tough opponent. That’s why, and we focus like always, but right now we have more focus, more hard work.

“Tony is not like these guys, he’s a little bit more tough than all of them.”

Tony Ferguson is on a 12-fight winning streak. He hasn’t lost since May of 2012 when he dropped a unanimous decision to Michael Johnson. Since then, he has beaten the likes of Edson Barboza, Rafael dos Anjos, Kevin Lee, Anthony Pettis, and most recently Donald Cerrone.

El Cucuy is dangerous striking and on the ground with his slick jiu-jitsu which makes this fight so interesting.

Khabib Nurmagomedov, meanwhile, has dominated his competition as he is a staggering 28-0 and has defended the UFC’s lightweight strap two times since winning it back in April of 2018 with a decision win over Al Iaquinta. Since then, he’s defeated Conor McGregor by fourth-round submission and Dustin Poirier by third-round submission.

Against Ferguson, Nurmagomedov will have his hands full. But he’s more than prepared for it.

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