HYDEN BLOG: Tony Ferguson vs. Donald Cerrone, and Ali Abdelaziz on Khabib Nurmagomedov

by frank Hyden, MMATorch contributor

Tony Ferguson (photo credit Etzel Espinosa © PWTorch)

No events this past week, so let’s just hit upon some news of the week.

I already touched upon this in the roundtables (I hope you always read those) but I’ll repeat it here. Tony Ferguson is going to fight Donald Cerrone at UFC 238 on June 8th. This is just over a month after Cerrone beat Al Iaquinta on May 4th. So we have the return of Ferguson after some time away, and “Short-Notice” Cerrone doing it again. I’m super excited for this fight, though I still think Ferguson should be fighting for the UFC Lightweight Title. If Ferguson wins this fight, he absolutely has to get the next title shot. They can schedule another title fight before that, with Dustin Poirier getting the shot to unify the UFC Lightweight Titles, but if Ferguson beats Cerrone, the next time he fights it has to be for the title.

Ferguson is sitting on an eleven fight win streak. Eleven. I’ll put it in numbers, 11. That’s absolutely amazing. And these aren’t bums he’s beating, either. He’s beaten Edson Barboza, Rafael dos Anjos, Kevin Lee, and Anthony Pettis, among many others. If you add Donald Cerrone to that list…how could you possibly make an argument against Ferguson getting the next title shot? You would have to make a Skip Bayless/Stephen A. Smith/Max Kellerman/etc. type of stupid argument in order to do that. You would have to try to twist yourself into such a pretzel in order to make the argument for anyone else. This is a no-brainer.

Let’s look at the other side, though. If Cerrone wins, he’s just beaten the top contender in the division. It would also be his fourth win in a row, though one of those took place at welterweight. He just beat Iaquinta and a month later would have beaten Ferguson. It wouldn’t be the craziest thing in the world to give him the next title shot. In this scenario, though, I think you give Poirer the first shot, then Cerrone the shot after that. Poirier has won five fights in a row, including his win over Max Holloway to win the Interim UFC Lightweight Title.

I think you can make a real argument for Ferguson-Cerrone being a #1 contenders fight, in large part because of what Ferguson has done. A win over a man who has won eleven fights in a row means something. This should be an awesome fight and an important one.

This is a political story involving people in the sports world that may or may not be of interest to you. You can stop reading

UFC Lightweight Champion Khabib Nurmagomedov’s manager, Ali Abdelaziz, talked with MMAFighting.com’s Luke Thomas recently about Nurmagomedov meeting with Chechen warlord Ramzan Kadyrov. The UN has condemned Kadyrov for kidnapping and murdering gay men in Chechnya. I really don’t want to pull out a soundbite or anything like that, as I feel the conversation should be read in its entirety and I encourage everyone to go check it out, but I will touch upon some things.

Abdelaziz defended Nurmagomedov and implied that Khabib has to meet with Kadyrov because when the head of a country invites you, you can’t say no. I get that, but I think that Nurmagomedov could release a statement about believing in equality for all or some other blanket statement. If he doesn’t want to speak out against Kadyrov specifically, I get that, but even a generic statement about how all humans are deserving of respect and kindness would be enough.

Ali also brought up that things are different in other parts of the world. And yeah, there are things that are acceptable in a lot of places but unacceptable in others. That doesn’t make it right, though. Just because someone has a backward and barbaric view of things doesn’t mean it’s right. You can’t hide behind your beliefs when you endanger the lives of other people. If the only defense of your beliefs is that you feel a certain something is wrong, your beliefs probably suck. If you can’t back up your beliefs with logic, facts, and evidence, you’re probably wrong. This is primarily true when your beliefs intersect with the happiness of others. You can think that homosexuality is wrong, but you can’t prevent those homosexuals from trying to be happy. You can be a man who identifies as a woman, but you can’t enter athletic competitions against biological women and dominate them. Everyone has the right to believe what they want, but you can’t intrude on the happiness of others with those beliefs. It’s like that old saying, “Your right to swing your fist around ends at my nose.”

If you stuck around for that, thank you and I hope everyone has a good week.

Comments and suggestions can be emailed to me at hydenfrank@gmail.com and you can follow on Twitter at @hydenfrank

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