UFC champ Khabib Nurmagomedov’s October retirement surprised even his closest confidantes. But, based on newly-released footage from the UFC, it seems few people took the news harder than Tony Ferguson.
The undefeated Russian standout called time on his career shortly after his second-round finish of Justin Gaethje on “UFC Fight Island” a little under two months ago, signalling the end of one of the most successful fight careers ever seen in mixed martial arts.
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Nurmagomedov told UFC commentator Jon Anik that he had given his word to his mother that he wouldn’t continue his combat career outside the influence of his late father and coach, Abdulmanap, who passed away in July after experiencing complications arising from COVID-19.
It was clearly an emotional moment for the tearful Nurmagomedov who moved his career record to an unparalleled 29-0 moments before, but spare a thought for Ferguson – the man whom fate apparently decreed would never step into the cage with the Russian champion.
On five separate occasions the UFC attempted to book a fight between the two top lightweight fighters, and five times it fell apart – and as Khabib made his announcement in the cage on that October evening it drove a stake through the heart of that fight ever taking place, save for a dramatic change of heart by the Russian.
And if you had offered a penny for Tony Ferguson’s thoughts throughout all of this, the time has come for your reward – as the UFC released footage of several fighters – Ferguson included – reacting to Khabib’s retirement speech.
And, as you can see in the footage, he was none too happy about it.
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