Featherweight champ Max Holloway will step up one more class to face lightweight titleholder Khabib Nurmagomedov as the true challenger, Tony Ferguson, was sidelined due to an LCL ligament injury after a freak accident.
Ferguson shared the post on his Instagram about the need to bow out of the match this coming April 8. The apology was shared on April 1, which many people initially accepted as an April fool’s joke
He said that he’s “hurt, frustrated, angry and in disbelief” beyond words over what happened. Ferguson narrated that he was finishing up on the pre-fight media obligations on Friday when he figured into an accident on the studio set.
“My doctor and the UFC doctor both said I can’t fight and one is saying I need surgery, so I will see a specialist to make the final determination on how I can heal up and get back in there to defend my belt ASAP,” he wrote.
FC president Dana White confirmed that indeed Ferguson is out of the Nurmagomedov sweepstakes.
“Unfortunately this is not an April Fools,” White said. “Tony is out; he hurt his knee. Tony Ferguson is injured. But the beautiful thing about this sport is that the stud 145-pound champion Max Holloway is gonna step up and face Khabib this Saturday in Brooklyn, N.Y., and it is for the official 155-pound title.”
While nobody questions Holloways’ toughness, the odds are against his favor. For one, Nurmagomedov is naturally bigger than him. In the history of the UFC, only Conor McGregor was able to win two championship belts in two weight classes.
On Dec. 2, however, Holloway was very impressive against Jose Aldo as he showed his defense and technical striking in the 145-pound division. Also, Nurmagomedov is coming off a long layoff as he was recovering from an injury.