UFC President Dana White: ‘It Almost Scares Me’

UFC President Dana White

Getty UFC president Dana White.

Fans have been clamoring for a bout between UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and former interim champ Tony Ferguson, and according to UFC president Dana White, he’s almost scared to book the fight again.

A fight between the two lightweight stars has been booked five times and five times the match has fallen apart. In the most recent case, “The Eagle” was scheduled to defend his belt against “El Cucuy” earlier this year, but due to COVID-19, the Russian Nurmagomedov was forced off the card and was replaced by Justin Gaethje.

Gaethje defeated Ferguson by fifth-round TKO, becoming the UFC interim lightweight champion and earning a shot at Nurmagomedov’s strap. The two are set to fight on October 24 in the main event of UFC 254 on Fight Island in Abu Dhabi.

Should The Eagle defeat Gaethje, and Ferguson wins his next bout, the UFC president is interested in scheduling Nurmagomedov vs. Ferguson for the sixth time. But White admittedly has his reservations.

“If Khabib does beat Gaethje, you get Tony Ferguson another fight, which we’re working on right now,” White told Sports Illustrated in a recent interview. “And hopefully that fight with Khabib happens because I know people want to see it.”

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen a fight fall apart as many times as those two,” White continued. “It almost scares me to make the fight again. What’s going to happen? An asteroid comes to earth? That’s the level of bad this thing is.”

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In May, Ferguson Suffered His First MMA Defeat Since 2012

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Going into his interim lightweight title fight against Gaethje at UFC 249 in May, El Cucuy was riding was 12-fight win streak and was 18-1 in his last 19 bouts. Ferguson has long been regarded as one of the greatest in the UFC lightweight division, however he hit a speed bump when he took on Gaethje.

Although Ferguson had moments in the fight against “The Highlight,” including dropping him early in the bout, El Cucuy was largely picked apart on the feet and lost the match by fifth-round TKO.

Ferguson is seemingly ready to get back to action and has expressed interest in fighting No. 2 ranked lightweight Dustin Poirier. El Cucuy has also been linked to a possible fight with former Bellator lightweight champ Michael Chandler.

Ferguson has a professional MMA record of 25-4.

Nurmagomedov Is Set to Defend His Lightweight Belt for the Third Time

The Eagle will look to defend his lightweight strap for the third time when he fights Gaethje in the main event of UFC 254 on October 24. It will also be Nurmagomedov’s second consecutive fight taking on an interim lightweight champion.

In his last title defense, Nurmagomedov defeated then-interim champ Dustin Poirier in September 2019 by third-round submission to unify the title. Before that, Nurmagomedov defended his strap by defeating Conor McGregor via fourth-round TKO in October 2018.

Nurmagomedov has an undefeated professional MMA record of 28-0.

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