Nurmagomedov: Lee lost to Ferguson because he fought like chicken
Jon Jones may be the best fighter in UFC history, but lost critical fights with his own character. Khabib Nurmagomedov may be the best fighter in the lightweight division – he’s never lost – but is losing critical fights with his own body.
‘The Eagle’ fought three times in 2013, but due to a series of injuries and a failed weight cut, he fought just three more times in the next four years. Nurmagomedov hopes to fight at UFC 219 on December 30, 2017 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. During a recent appearance on Ariel Helwani’s The MMA Hour, Nurmagomedov said he wants to challenge Ferguson for the interim belt, and detailed why he would win.
“Dos Anjos and Kevin Lee fought with him at his distance,” explained Nurmagomedov, as transcribed by Shaun Al-Shatti for MMA Fighting. “That’s why these guys [lost to] him. But what happens if Ferguson fights a fighter like me, who all the time tries to take him down, smash him on the ground, and never, never stop?”
“All my life, I never tire, I never lose, and I never give up. In training, in amateur fights, in professional fights, I’ve never given up. Never. Nobody has choked me, nobody has submitted me. Never, ever, in all my life. I’m training with a lot of fighters from different weight classes — heavyweight, welterweight, lightweight. You can ask ‘DC,’ you can ask Luke Rockhold, all fighters: I never give up and I never get tired. This is what I want to say about this.”
“Last time when I had to fight with Tony, I thought, ‘I’m confident 100 percent the fight will happen, and I have to beat Tony to take the belt, and then at the end of the year I’m going to fight with Conor.’ But everybody knows what happened. And now I have the same feeling. I have the same feeling, and next time I have to stay a little bit careful, more control my weight, more control my health and my everything.
“All the time when I come back, I come back stronger than ever. This is what I want to show people around the world, how I improved myself. And maybe people think I don’t train — I feel 100 percent. When I watched how Kevin Lee beat Tony Ferguson in the first round, I think confident, 100 percent, I can finish this guy in the second or third round.”
‘The Eagle’ was not impressed with Lee’s performance vs. Ferguson at UFC 216.
“I think [Ferguson] won because Kevin Lee was fighting with him like chicken. That’s why he won,” said Nurmagomedov. “[Lee] talked too much. He was not focused on the fight; he was focused on, I think, promoting the fight. When the fight was beginning, first round, [Lee] beat him, and second round, [Lee] stayed with him in his distance, he ate a lot of jabs, and third round, [Lee] gave up, because he doesn’t have conditioning. That’s why.”
Nurmagomedov also said if Ferguson fights Conor McGregor, he’ll happily fight Edson Barboza on Dec. 30 instead.