Updated Updated: March 25, 2020

Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Tony Ferguson |Comparison, Betting Prediction, Odds and Tips | 18 Apr 2020

In what is surely going an early contender for the biggest UFC fight of 2020, Khabib Nurmagomedov v Tony Ferguson is now just a few months away and the tensions are already building.

khabib v ferguson tale of the tape comparison

This fight has been three years in the making with the pairs supposed to face off back in 2017. However, this was cancelled and to this date, both still remain undefeated.
Last time, the stakes were already high as it was a title bout, but three years on they are even higher as this fight will see Khabib defend his title as Lightweight Champion from his long-standing rival, Ferguson.  Let’s take a look at the two fighters, their journey’s so far, and who is looking likely to come out on top.

Khabib Nurmagomedov

khabib nurmagomedov

Currently, the 31-year-old Russian, Khabib Nurmagomedov is one of the most feared fighter in the world of UFC and brags an outstanding record of 28 wins, no losses and no draws in a career that stretches back 10 years.

As well as his record being the fighter longest active undefeated streak in MMA, he is also ranked as the number 2 pound-for-pound fighter in the sport, bested only by light-heavyweight, Jon Jones, and the number 1 Lightweight pound-for-pound fighter.

The most recent addition to this staggering win record came against Dustin Poirier back in September where he defended his title at Lightweight Champion for the second time and unified the UFC Lightweight Championship.

This followed a lengthy ban from the sport following a post-match brawl in the match where he defended the title for the first time.

Khabib’s form after being banned for 9 months

Of course, most people, even those who aren’t familiar with UFC, will know of the match in question as it was against the most recognisable figure in the sport, Connor McGregor. In this highly billed match, where there was much abuse and controversy leading up to the bout, he defended the title from its previous McGregor, who had vacated the title due to absence thanks to a 4th round submission. However, Khabib proceeded to leap over the side of the cage and got into an altercation with McGregor’s training partner, Dillion Danis.

This resulted in Khabib being banned from the support for 9 months.

However, in his return fight against Poirier, he showed that he lost nothing in that time off and dispatched off his rival in the 3rd round via another submission, the 10th of his career.  

This allowed him to hold onto his title which he has now had in his grasp since April 2018, after winning on a decision against, Al Laquinta.

A win here will continue his position as the man to beat in the division and will continue his ferocious win record.

Tony Ferguson

Tony ferguson

Tony Ferguson may not hold the glowing win-record of his Khabib, but the American, who is 4 years his opponent’s senior, has still won 25 of his 28 fights and only lost once before the final bell.

Thanks to this record he is considered one of the currently ranked #10 in the UFC pound-for-pound rankings and #2 in the UFC lightweight rankings. Having previously held top-spot in the latter of these rankings, he lost out on his spot to none other than Khabib himself, following the Russian’s latest victory in September.

His record of 12 consecutive wins is also the longest-running in the UFC lightweight division but a loss here would mean that this would be ended.

As such, while this impressive record has already made him become regarded as one of the best lightweights in the history of the UFC, a win in this match will certainly cement this position. Not to mention take back the title of Lightweight Champion that he previously held (albeit as an interim), and establish his ranking as top of the pile in the lightweight division of UFC.

If anyone is going to knock Khabib off the top-spot, Ferguson would be the one to do it.

Ferguson’s first fight after his injury

Going into this fight, it will be the first time he has fought since he won against Donald Cerrone, following a doctor stoppage between rounds 2 and 3, back in June 2019 to secure that 12th win in his record-holding win-streak.

As such, this will be the first time he will be in action for nearly year, prior to which you would have to go back another 7 months to October 2018 when he notched up win number 11 in a match against, Anthony Pettis, which ended with corner stoppage after two rounds. Prior to this second fight, he had pulled out of the original match-up against Khabib due to an injury.

While, of course, Ferguson had recorded another 10 wins in a row prior to this, in terms of recent history, he has not had as much ring time of late as his opponent irrespective of his suspension.

This to be expected as it could be argued that there is no reason to risk his streak for a fight that wasn’t worth it, now with the belt on the line it certainly is worth it. However, it will be very interesting to see if Ferguson has it in his locker to establish himself against a very top opponent.

Comparison and predictions

khabib v ferguson ufc 223

As Lightweight UFC bouts go, they don’t get bigger than this and when you look at results over the last few years then the gravity of the match-up only increases. Both of these two fighters are massively formidable opponents with a lot to lose on the line while the status at the top of the lightweight division is what is at stake.

Unlike many other title fights though, this has the added influence that there is a lot to lose also – owing to the fact that both fighters have records on the line that could be sacrificed if they do not come out on top. With this considered, they have it all to lose and a lot to gain.

The favourite in this fight: Khabib

On paper though, Khabib will be the favourite going into this, as his impeccable record speaks worlds about his ability and he has seen himself in some tougher bouts in recent history – no less than against McGregor which would be considered his toughest so far and yet he still stormed home to victory.

While, of course, Ferguson is not without his merits and his glorious victories in the past, at the age of 34 and with various breaks and a couple of injuries in recent years, he is definitely going into this fight with much less recent bout tough fight experience.

Can Ferguson win this fight?

Ferguson last fight came against Donald Cerrone and this was comfortable. However, while Cerrone is ranked 5th in the lightweight rankings, he is nowhere near the same calibre as Khabib and holds much less impressive record. Cerrone’s latest lost to McGregor in the first round was a further testament to the difference in quality between the two fighters and so his most recent doesn’t say a lot about his prospects and you then have to over a year back to see him fight before that.

The fighters face to face

When it comes to them as a pair of fighters though even more sways towards, Khabib. He is by far one of the most deadly opponents to battle it out on the floor with – his 10 submission wins a testament to this- and is easily able to go all the way – another 10 wins via decision lay claim to this.

Ferguson on the other hand’s main route to wins is knockouts and this will be unlikely against Khabib, while his second-best means of wins – submissions, for which he has 8 – is going to be even tougher against the Russian choke merchant.

With this considered, distance will be his friend in this match-up and his best chance of a win would be to use his larger reach to his advantage and take it all the way. However, Khabib should win.

What other tipsters are predicting

Backing the Khabib seems a sensible thing to do right now and this sentiment is shared by others also in the tipster world.

  • Chad Porto of Fansided, who stated:

“I think Nurmagomedov shocks the world with a mid-round knockout of Ferguson”

It is certainly no black and white decision though and so many others are not hazarding a guess either way and the majority of tipster publications out there, which there are few of at this stage, have stated that they wouldn’t hazard a guess at this stage.

Personally, I am favouring Khabib who should win likely before the bell via a submission. The bookmakers are on my side also, Skybet has 4/9 on Khabib and Betfair 23/10 on Ferguson.

Tony Ferguson vs Khabib Nurmagomedov, odds on the winner

Odds on Khabib to win the fight

If you look at the bookies, then the current best odds in regards to this result is offered by Skybet who offers 4/9.

Odds on Ferguson to win the fight

For a Ferguson win the best odds you will find is 23/10, offered by Betfair.


At the moment, this is unclear. The fight is pretty high profile but not as much as Khabib’s fight against McGregor which he is said to have pocketed from $2-$6 million from. On that same night, Ferguson took home $155,000 to show by winning over Anthony Pettis. As such, the winnings from this fight will likely be somewhere in the middle of these figures. Rumours circulating suggest that Khabib will offer the lion’s share, and take home as much as 4x his opponent win or lose..

Almost definitely, McGregor would be the next fight for the winner. McGregor has said a fight against both men has to happen but the winner will likely to decide that. Regardless, it is likely that McGregor and Khabib would be prioritised even if it wasn’t for the title, but McGregor would also be the next logical step whether Ferguson won or lost also. Regardless, both would make a huge amount of money so it would be likely then that McGregor would fight the titleholder and then fight the other afterwards. Of course, a rematch between the pair would also be likely. The only other alternative for either would Justin Gaethje who is the current 4th ranked lightweight.

This will be a Pay-Per-View event which you can stream online.  However, more details about this will merge in the coming months..

Of course, as it is best of the best right now in the lightweight division, calling an outright winner is no mean feat. This said, it is fair to say that the fight would certainly be going in the direction of Russian due to undisputed record as a fighter and with a more consistent fighting rate, so he is certainly the main of the hour.

The fight Khabib vs Ferguson is planned to be on the 18th April 2020. The fight will be a closed event so no fans will be allowed to be there. Fortunately the game will be streamed live.

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