Khabib Nurmagomedov was supposed to fight Tony Ferguson in his return to the cage Saturday at UFC on Fox 19, but he doesn’t care whether or not that fight comes together after Ferguson was forced out of the bout.
“I don’t have unfinished business with this guy,” Nurmagomedov said after the event to Fox Sports. “He’s not here because he don’t come here. He pulled out. When I pulled out in December, UFC gave him [Edson] Barboza – I don’t say nothing, I stayed quiet because this is my fault. He pulled out injured and he talks too much.
“Tony, April 16, I come here, he doesn’t come. This is not my problem. Maybe somebody says I fight against a no name, but this is not my problem. I asked please only give me tough opponent, this is what I’ve asked all of my career in the UFC and if these guys don’t fight with me, this is not my problem.”
As for his next fight, Nurmagomedov expects to be back by September or October at the earliest after observing Ramadan over the summer, though he sees himself as a good fit for one specific location.
“I think if the UFC wants to make a very smart decision for New York – in New York are living a couple million people who speak Russian and I’m famous in New York. I can fight in New York,” he said. “We’ll see. Now I think I deserve a little bit of rest.”
Penick’s Analysis: Nurmagomedov is most likely getting Rafael dos Anjos should dos Anjos defend the title against Eddie Alvarez, and if the UFC wants to stack that Madison Square Garden event in November that would make for a very good co-main event or third fight from the top. Nurmagomedov-Ferguson remains an excellent matchup for the future, but he’s right that it’s not a necessity right now, and it certainly isn’t a fight he needs to earn his shot at the title.
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