The UFC’s Lightweight division is becoming one of the more exciting and contested divisions in the promotion. Saturday, March 4, we have a delight of a bout to look forward to.
Khabib Nurmagomedov takes on Tony Ferguson for lightweight gold. And it’s a meeting that many are eyeing for the challenge to UFC’s ultimate star, Conor McGregor.
McGregor, the current undisputed Lightweight Champion is on an indefinite leave of absence from the UFC, awaiting the birth of his child. That may or may not be the only thing he’s waiting for either. Who’s to say that the Natorious One will come back and fight lightweight. McGregor’s last three opponents were fought at three completely different weight classes. But the next fight that’s most associated with McGregor isn’t even a MMA fight.
So with no set timeframe for the reigning champ to return, we find two of the division’s most talented for the interim title. In one corner, a man who has gone on an absolute tear through many of the division’s top contenders. And in the other corner, a man who has just gone on an absolute tear altogether. You can actually say the same about either fighter.
Tony “El Cucuy” Ferguson impressed many and hoisted himself to number one contender status after a convincing victory over former lightweight champ Rafael dos Anjos back in November. A winner of nine straight, including one over 5th ranked Edson Barbosa, who similarly to RDA, is a pretty tough out. But Ferguson seemingly finds ways to not just beat these guys, but finish them in style.
Now, while a streak of nine in a row in 25 professional fights sounds impressive, how does a streak 24 in a row in 24 professional fights sound? That is Khabib Nurmagomedov. One of the only top ranked fighters in any division that is undefeated. And watching him fight, it’s easy to see why he has yet to lose a bout.
Ferguson is one of UFC’s best strikers, who’s ground game is just as intense. He can beat you standing, he can submit you easy, and if it goes to the judges, he’ll find a way to get them in his favor. But Khabib is ranked #1 and undefeated for a reason. He’s just plain intense in every aspect. He can almost take anyone down at will. And when that happens it’s a wrap.
As far as a prediction goes, I’ll lean toward Khabib, just because of that. With these two guys, this fight will find it’s way on the mat. And that Russian bulldog will put El Cucuy in a ground and pound meat grinder.