Reigning UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Khabib Nurmagomedov is set to defend his title against Tony Ferguson at UFC 249 next month. However, fans got a preview of the intense bout on Friday night (Saturday IST) after the duo engaged in a heated feud during the press conference.
Khabib Nurmagomedov was due to face Ferguson four times in the past. However, the bout never happened due to injury issues to one of the two. Now, finally set to battle inside the octagon, the duo made sure to make the rivalry quite personal. The highlight of the press conference has to be when Khabib kicked out Ferguson's old championship belt during the routine faceoff.
Tony Ferguson, who was the interim Light Heavyweight Champion, was forced to relinquish his belt due to injury. Since then, Khabib Nurmagomedov beat Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier (interim) to become the sole Light Heavyweight Champion. During the press conference, the American fighter claimed he is already in the head of the champion, weeks out from their fight. Ferguson even brought his old championship to mock the Russian.
This was enough to rile up Khabib, who retaliated with some strong words for the challenger. The Russian appeared to be increasingly agitated as Ferguson kept coming back with subtle jibes.
The entire bust-up concluded during the faceoff. With UFC President Dana White trying to prevent the duo from starting a fight on the stage, Khabib went to kick Tony's old championship off the stage to set up a tense climax to the press conference.
Khabib has won all 28 of his professional MMA fights but is in for one of the toughest challenges of his career in Ferguson. The duo will face each other at UFC 249 on April 18 in New York.