UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov’s stellar 29-0 professional MMA record has recently come under scrutiny by fellow lightweight Tony Ferguson.
Khabib last fought at UFC 254, beating Justin Gaethje via second round submission to successfully defend his crown for the third time. ‘The Eagle’ previously defended his title against Dustin Poirier at UFC 242 and Conor McGregor at UFC 229. Prior to these, he had notable wins over Edson Barbosa, Michael Johnson, and Al Iaquinta, who he beat at UFC 223 to win the lightweight title.
Ferguson On Khabib’s Pre-UFC Record
Prior to signing with the UFC, Khabib fought in different promotions in Russia, gathering an impressive 16-0 record. But sharing his thoughts on social media, Tony Ferguson said that it’s all smoke and mirrors.
“Ahhh Khabieber’s (Khabib Nurmagomedov) record… facts: more than half of fatheads professional fights were only two round sanctioned bouts. All before UFC. To be professional fights in most leagues, there must be three sanctioned rounds to be considered professional. Fights (sic) leagues such [as] UFC & farm league. The three by two round TUF fights should count on my record if that’s the case. Give me three more knockouts & victories on my record,” Ferguson wrote.
Michael Bisping Responds
Responding to Ferguson’s comments on his ‘Believe You Me’ podcast (as transcribed by LowKick MMA), former UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping came to Khabib’s defence, saying that fighters normally compete against relatively easier competition at the start of their careers, and gradually build their way up to the bigger leagues.
“Just look up the record — the professional boxing record of — I dunno, I dunno what it’s like, Floyd Mayweather,” Bisping said. “Let’s go with that, okay. He’s considered the best ever, like Khabib considered the best ever, so compare his. ‘Cause I guarantee, it’s like you, Luis [J. Gomez] when you started doing comedy, you were doing it in some s***hole, or some basement, or some kitchen, or maybe some cafe like on New Year’s Eve or whatever it was you were.
“The point I’m making is, you build, you build to that [level]. When I started in the UFC — or sorry, professional MMA, the guy I fought wasn’t very good. You build your way up to it and you fight the best guys when you get up to that level. You shouldn’t be fighting good guys at that time.”
Khabib’s UFC Record
Since signing with the UFC, not only has Khabib won every fight, but he has also smothered every single opponent, except for Gleison Tibau. Having dominated the likes of McGregor, Poirier and Gaethje, among others in the UFC, Bisping believes the Dagestani’s past shouldn’t even matter.
“And since he’s got to the UFC, and continued to be undefeated and — I mean, I love Tony but there’s no logic in the argument there,” Bisping continued. “Okay, great he didn’t fight the best people prior to the UFC. Okay fair enough, have whatever feelings you want on that. When he got to the UFC, he remained undefeated, he fought excellent competition. He beat Poirier, McGregor, Gaethje — there’s so many people I can’t think off the top of my head, and he beat them all. So what he did before the UFC shouldn’t even matter.”
Are you siding with Tony Ferguson or Michael Bisping on their views about Khabib Nurmagomedov’s MMA record?