Khabib Nurmagomedov faces Tony Ferguson at UFC 249 on April 18 in one of the most eagerly anticipated bouts in the history of mixed martial arts.
Nurmagomedov heads into the contest with a perfect 28-0 record and leading bookmakers rate him as a big favourite to retain the lightweight title.
However, Ferguson (25-3) is in the form of his life at the moment after reeling of 12 successive victories and he believes he can cause an upset. Read on as we preview the big fight.
Nurmagomedov eager to face Ferguson
Nurmagomedov hasn’t fought since beating Dustin Poirier at UFC 242 last September and says he is keen to return to action.
The 31-year-old produced a dominant display in his last contest and a victory over Ferguson would further cement his legacy in mixed martial arts.
According to this report the Russian star is rated as a 4/11 shot to retain his title and that looks a fair reflection of his chances.
Having missed opportunities to face Ferguson on four previous occasions, Nurmagomedov is desperate for this fight to go ahead.
“Right now, I am in my training camp since December,” he said during an Instagram live chat. “January, February and now March - I hope the fight is going to happen.
“This is a very important fight, because the lightweight division has to move. In lightweight division there’s a couple guys with six-win streak, seven-win streak. A lot of contenders come.
“I don’t want to hang the lightweight division. We do fight with Tony Ferguson and we have to know who is the next contender.”
Ferguson unfazed by the champion
Although Ferguson is priced at 21/10 to defeat Nurmagomedov, the 36-year-old is supremely confident he can upset the odds and walk away with the belt.
Given his recent form there are likely to be plenty of punters willing to use the Ladbrokes promo code to back Ferguson to emerge victorious at UFC 249.
He has the all-round skills to trouble Nurmagomedov and could be argued to have faced much tougher opponents during his career.
Ferguson also has a point to prove having previously been stripped of the interim title due to injury and that makes him a dangerous opponent for the Russian.
“I’m in this dude’s head,” he told Ariel Helwani. “He’s looking at me. He’s going to train so hard. He’s going to be so nervous he’s going to make a mistake. I’m going to capitalise on that.
“I’m going to catch him during the scrambles. Scrambled eggs, baby. I owe him two to the chops, and he owes me 20 push-ups.
“This guy’s got an issue and his name is Tony Ferguson. And I’m coming after him. It’s hunting season, baby.”
UFC 249 Card
Jessica Andrade vs. Rose Namajunas
Magomed Ankalaev vs. Ion Cutelaba
Islam Makhachev vs. Alexander Hernandez
Jeremy Stephens vs. Calvin Kattar
Uriah Hall vs. Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza
Lyman Good vs. Belal Muhammad
Khama Worthy vs. Ottman Azaitar
Gian Villante vs. Ben Rothwell
Sijara Eubanks vs. Sarah Moras
Karl Roberson vs. Makhmud Muradov
Hunter Azure vs. Umar Nurmagomedov