UFC lightweight fighter Tony Ferguson called retired and undefeated ex-UFC champion Khabib Nurmagomedov a "f--king b---h" during a UFC 262 press conference on Thursday.
"He's a f--king b---h," Ferguson said. "He's a fucking p---y. Sorry to interrupt you. I'm going to dedicate this f--king song called 'Mask Off.' 'Chase a check, never chase a b---h.' That's Khabib."
A question was posited to Ferguson, and it included a comment on how the lightweight title is vacant because Khabib retired as the champion. Ferguson then interrupted after Khabib was mentioned and used the opportunity to make his comments.
Charles Oliviera and Michael Chandler are fighting for the vacant lightweight title on Saturday at the Toyota Center in Houston. Ferguson will also be taking on Beneil Dariush on the main card.
ESPN outlined a history between Ferguson and Khabib, which includes five failed attempts for the two to face off in the Octagon. They never did square off, and it's not happening now unless Khabib comes out of retirement.
The two were supposed to fight at the Ultimate Fighter 22 Finale in 2015, but an injured rib forced Khabib to drop out, per ESPN's Ariel Helwani (then of MMA Fighting).
A UFC on FOX 19 fight scheduled for 2016 was postponed after Ferguson announced that doctors found fluid and blood in his lung.
Then the two were supposed to fight in 2017 at UFC 209, but Khabib pulled out this time after being hospitalized due to weight management issues, per Lance Pugmire of the Los Angeles Times.
The two were then scheduled to fight in 2018 at UFC 223, but Ferguson suffered a torn LCL, per MMA Fighting's Damon Martin (then of MMA Weekly).
Then they were slated to go a fifth (and presumably final) time in April 2020, one month after the COVID-19 pandemic sparked mass shutdowns around the world. Khabib dropped out this time, saying that travel bans prevented him from flying to the United States and participating in the fight.
Ferguson was unhappy with Khabib.
"He obviously knew what he could do to help save this card," Ferguson said, per ESPN.com. "He didn't want to take any of those chances. Everybody is taking risks trying to do it. He bailed out, man. It's pretty hard to explain, but he bailed out, man."
Tony Ferguson @TonyFergusonXT
April 18 Is Getting Close @TeamKhabib & You’re Hiding In Russia. Travel Bans Will Not Prevent Me From Whoopin’ That Ass. Don’t Use It As An Excuse To Back Out. You Have Been Sent Many Locations, Send Us 1. Still My Bitch #DefendorVacate MF ⚾️ -CSO- 🇺🇸🏆🇲🇽 #ufc249 @ufc @danawhite pic.twitter.com/TVQH4mnG2e
Farah Hannoun of MMA Junkie provided more details on Khabib's travel issues on March 30, 2020.
"Nurmagomedov recently closed out his camp at American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, Calif., before flying home to Russia this past week when he heard that the fight will not happen in the U.S.
"But with travel bans now also being imposed in his homeland, Nurmagomedov currently is stuck there, putting yet another hurdle in the way of his eagerly awaited fight with Ferguson. The bout has been scheduled and canceled four different times over the past several years."
As Hannoun noted, Russia had "recently banned all cross-border travel except for diplomats or members of official delegations."
So ended the Khabib-Ferguson saga. Khabib fought one more time, defending his lightweight title against Justin Gaethje before promptly retiring in October 2020.
Since April 2020, Ferguson has lost twice to Gaethje and Oliviera. The ex-interim lightweight champion is still the No. 5 lightweight contender and slated to take on the No. 9 fighter in his weight class in Dariush, who is 20-4-1 as a professional. Ferguson is 25-5.