The New John Wick

Photo Credit: Zuffa LLC / Contributor

“I’m the new John Wick!” – Tony Ferguson

It was a war of words on the UFC Conference Call on 2/23/17 between #2 ranked Lightweight Tony “El Cucuy” Ferguson and #1 contender Khabib “The Eagle” Nurmagomedov. UFC209 is an incredible card with some exciting bouts lined up, including the highly anticipated rematch between Welterweight Champion Tyron “The Chosen One” Woodley and Steven “Wonderboy” Thompson. Their first fight ended in a draw and there is most definitely a score to be settled between the two warriors. As excited I am for this rematch, I could not help but to be completely taken by the clash that ensued between Ferguson and Khabib. These two really do not like each other and they held nothing back as they spoke of one another.

The interview lasted just under 40 minutes and the majority of that time was spent listening to Ferguson attack Khabib through the phone. You could clearly hear it in Ferguson’s voice that he was amped up and ready to go right at that moment. Khabib was very relaxed and took an approach of subtly taking jabs at the #2 contender, saying the fight was all about money to Ferguson and even at one point, offering him his own money just to take the fight. “You want 200,000? I can give you 200,000, don’t worry, it’s okay” Khabib had told Ferguson. This only lit a fire more in Tony, snapping back that he did not want Khabib’s money, only wanted UFC’s money and the opportunity to smash Khabib’s face. El Cucuy even made references to how he would leave The Eagle’s 4.9 million Twitter followers upset after he finishes the Russian Phenom. Khabib laughed it off and said that he is going to break Ferguson. This was the tone of the interview and it didn’t let up a single moment between the two athletes.

To further put into perspective how big this fight is and how much it means to each fighter, take a moment to look at each of their careers and you’ll understand. Khabib is sitting undefeated in his Mixed Martial Arts career at 24-0 and 8-0 in the UFC. He has run through every opponent the UFC has placed in front of him, with wins over the likes of Rafael Dos Anjos and Michael Johnson most recently. Many feel Khabib should have already fought for the title but due to injury, Khabib was not able to reach the top of the ladder and was forced to take a two-year layoff so he could heal. Despite the time off, Khabib came back to win his return match in spectacular fashion by handing Darrell Horcher a TKO loss. Then just seven months later, he came to UFC205 and submitted Michael Johnson after being rocked early in a stand up back and forth exchange. The sheer will, athleticism, and wrestling capabilities Khabib brings to the table cannot be denied and will surely be a chess match for Ferguson.

Tony Ferguson is a competitor at the top of his game and a fighter that noticeably gets better with each entry into the octagon. Tony burst onto the scene when he demolished the competition at The Ultimate Fighter house and won the coveted title of TUF13 winner with a beautiful knockout victory over Ramsey Nijem at the finale back in 2011. Since then, Tony has been on a rampage in the Lightweight division, racking up a record of 12-1 with only a mere decision loss to top 10 ranked Michael Johnson. Ferguson is an animal, just plain and simple, out of his 13 appearances in the cage only 5 have gone the distance. El Cucuy is a finisher and he can do it from any position, at any moment. As I stated before this will be a chess match for Ferguson to figure out in the Sambo game of Khabib, but do not think for one second that The Eagle will not be spending countless hours at the drawing board trying to figure out a proper game plan for the hurricane that is Tony Ferguson.

UFC 209 is poised to be one of the greatest cards yet with this fight alone. Each fighter is going to bring 200% of themselves to the octagon and leave it all in there. Will the standup game of Ferguson pull it out or will the technical ambush that Khabib brings from the ground be the deciding factor? Will Tony be cast as the new John Wick in John Wick Chapter 3 or will Khabib break El Cucuy as he said he will do? On March 4th we all will find out and I for one believe it will be in the running for Fight of the Year. One thing is for certain, at UFC209 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas the roof is about to come off of that building. Do not miss this one!

By: Jay Durham

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