A long awaited showdown between lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and long-time No.1 contender Tony Ferguson has finally been made official for an upcoming UFC pay-per-view event in Brooklyn, New York on April 18th.
Remarkably, this will be the fight time the UFC has tried to make this fight, stretching back as far as 2015 when both fighters were on long winning streaks and trying desparately to get a title shot.
The first two attempts to put the fight together had to be scrapped after Nurmagomedov suffered an injury and then Ferguson had a lung issue.
It then seemed like third-time lucky in 2017 until Nurmagomedov had to withdraw due to a brutal weight cut, while Ferguson went on to win the interim title by defeating Kevin Lee.
Then a fourth fight was scheduled, but it also proved to be jinxed when Ferguson hurt his knee after tripping over a cable while at ESPN promoting the fight, which led to him being stripped of the belt.
At that stage Nurmagomedov was on a nine-fight winning streak and he finally seized his opportunity to battle for the now vacant belt by defeating late replacement Al Iaquinta by unanimous decision.
Ferguson didn’t get an immediate shot at Khabib though, with the Russian instead going on to fight his rival Conor McGregor at UFC 229, defeating him by a fourth round submission.
He’s since also successfully defended the belt with another submission win over Dustin Poirier in September of this year.
As for Ferguson, he has struggled with mental health issues, but has managed to continue to extend his winning streak to 12 fights with back-to-back TKO wins against Anthony Pettis and Donald Cerrone.
In many ways it’s quite remarkable that after all this time these two fighters have still managed to preserve their long unbeaten runs until they do eventually have a chance to fight, and hopefully this time it will go ahead as planned.