The retired Russian urged Ferguson to think about his future and questioned: ‘How can he make a comeback?’
Khabib Nurmagomedov has questioned UFC star Tony Ferguson’s ability to bounce back from three straight defeats in the octagon, and has urged the American to retire to “think about the future”.
The undefeated former UFC lightweight champion did not hold back when questioned about Ferguson’s form, doubting his ability to bounce back from consecutive losses to Justin Gaethje, Charles Oliveira and Beneil Dariush.
The 32-year-old was speaking to local media as part of a public panel when he was asked whether he thought Ferguson’s career is over.
“He is 38 years old,” was Khabib’s immediate reply. “Tell me, how can he make a comeback?
“He was dominated in his last three bouts. Different styles – a striker, a grappler… Dariush, Oliveira, Gaethje. They all dominated him both standing up and on the ground.
“When you are 38, I believe, you have to pull the brakes and there have to be people around him to say: ‘Hey, you are ageing. You have to stop’.”
Ferguson doesn’t actually turn 38 until next February, but does not currently have a fight lined up since his defeat to Dariush at UFC 262 in May.
The Californian never faced Khabib in the ring while the Russian was still active, though that was by circumstance rather than by design.
The pair were scheduled to fight one another on five separate occasions, but for multiple reasons either one or the other was forced to pull out. For their final scheduled bout on April 18, 2020, Covid-19 restrictions prevented Khabib from flying out of Russia.
Nurmagomedov also pointed out fellow Dagestani fighter Shamil Zavurov as another example of someone who should consider calling time on their MMA career.
“We have been saying that to Shamil for the last year and a half,” he said. “Shamil is far from young too.
“We gave our all to persuade him that this should be his farewell fight, although if we had not told him that he would’ve fought until he was 45.
“Fighting is a tough business, especially when you are not young and you keep getting knocked out. That affects your health.
“He has, like, more than 10 kids – he has to raise them. You have to think about your future, not just your MMA career.
“You turn 40, 50, 60 years old. How are you going to live life when you are over 50? You have to think about the future.