The build-up for UFC 229 was eventful that included the first big press conference at Madison Square Gardens between Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov. The Russian remained composed which led to many online bookmakers in New York taking bets on him for the fight. It was a similar story come fight night, Khabib dominated him throughout the fight, showing just why he still remains unbeaten. He now has to enter calculations as the most dominant champion in the history of the sport. So what is next?
The likely next step is a rematch with McGregor. The fight will sell and the UFC would certainly push all the drama that unfolded as a way of promoting the fight again. The ugly scenes following the fight were a bad message with the world watching. What will the punishment be for Khabib? His purse is still being held from the Nevada athletic commission, so he is likely to face not only a big fine but a suspension. This could therefore play a big role on whether the rematch is next for both fighters.
Another star on the card was Tony ‘El Cucuy’ Ferguson winning the co-main event against former champion Anthony Pettis. It was a dominant display which led to Pettis’s team calling it off at the end of round two. The rise of Ferguson has been remarkable since his win on the Ultimate Fighter 13, and he now is one of the top fighters on the roster. The 34-year-old has a MMA record of 26 wins and three loses. He has also now won 11 fights in a row and remains unbeaten since 2012. This six-year stint now must push him for that big fight against either McGregor or Khabib next.
The fight between Ferguson and Khabib has long been in the offing having been scheduled, not once, not twice but four times. On each occasion something has occurred resulting in it having to be cancelled. The fight was scheduled most recently for UFC 223 and following the freak injury to Ferguson it led Dana White to claim the fight will never be booked again. Could this mean we don’t get to see the fight that the division deserves, the best against the best.
Khabib is renowned for his dominant ground game which was always going to give him the upper hand against McGregor. However, against Tony it is a complete different test. He not only possesses a high level stand up game, but is an all American wrestler and has a fantastic ground game. His unorthodox style could just unlock the key to Khabib and result in his first loss. Ferguson deserves this fight and this should be what is next instead of the rematch from UFC 229.