Former UFC champion Michael Bisping believes Nurmagomedov will be stirred into cancelling his retirement and settling his rivalry with Ferguson if the pair go head-to-head as coaches in ‘The Ultimate Fighter’
Michael Bisping believes that Khabib Nurmagomedov will end retirement and face Tony Ferguson if he coaches in The Ultimate Fighter.
Nurmagomedov and Ferguson have been rivals for several years and have been set to meet in the past but a fight has never materialised. The Russian star retired from the promotion in 2020 as an undefeated champion having never settled his rivalry with his American foe.
However UFC legend Bisping believes the drama created during The Ultimate Fighter competition over a long spell could “poke the bear” and see Nurmagomedov exit retirement. “I’ve coached the Ultimate Fighter twice. So I know first hand what that process is like, and let me tell you when you’re around your opponent so much, you want nothing more than to strangle them,” Bisping said during a video on his YouTube channel. “You want nothing more than to get paid a ton of money to beat them up.
“For Khabib, he’s loaded. He’s done very, very well throughout his fight career and continues to do well no doubt. He has tremendous amounts of endorsements, appearances, investments, and all the rest of it. So maybe for Khabib, it’s not about the money. It’ll be about smashing Tony Ferguson’s face in. [The show] designed with drama in mind. You know, they want it to happen.
“And Tony Ferguson, I mean, come on. Listen, who doesn’t love Tony, the man talks a lot of s***. He’s very confident. He’s not shy one little bit. He wants to fight Khabib crazy as that sounds, he wants to fight and so badly because he believes that he can beat him. My point is that over six weeks, or maybe it’s eight weeks now I’m not sure. I believe that he can poke that bear enough and if you poke the bear enough and what happens?”
Ferguson and Nurmagomedov have renewed their rivalry in recent days with Ferguson issuing a new futile call-out to the retired star. Nurmagomedov produced a mocking response after his rival lost his fourth consecutive fight with a brutal KO defeat to Michael Chandler.
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UFC president Dana White has explained that he would like to see both fighters act as coaches in the next episode of The Ultimate Fighter. However Nurmagomedov believes his rival has a “brain problem” and would be unable to pull off a deal to stage the event. “I don’t hate this guy, you know,” Nurmagomedov insisted to MMA Underground. I like him. But he does have little bit of brain problem, I think.
“This is my opinion, but for him, this is good. Because he’s 38 he doesn’t need to compete with all these lions. They’re young, they’re hungry, he’s like 38, just come with me, make money, do like some Ultimate Fighter show, be coach, be nice. For him, for his kids, for his family, it’s going be better. But I don’t think he is smart enough to do business with me.”