What makes a good April fools prank? Most would say something that encompasses the key points of comedy, something that targets a specific audience (that would be all of us), evokes an emotional reaction, and above all is believable enough to trick people. When I first saw this breaking news headline pop up it covered all those points easily and i’ll admit it, I took the bait. “No frickin’ way” I exclaimed as I watched the frantically searched for more information. I’ve been hurt by both Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson before you see, much like many other UFC fans out there I couldn’t wait to see them fight. The first time being at The Ultimate Fighter 22 Finale in late 2015, or in April 2016 and of course I was excited for the lightweight belt at UFC 209. Each and every time however, injury or tiramisu related issues arose and the ill fated clash was postponed once again. This time everything leading up to the event appeared to be in order. By all accounts both camps had been successful and injury free, the cringe worthy trash talk was flowing and we seemed all set to see the fight we have all been patiently waiting for for what now seems like forever. That is when downheartedly I realised I was not being fooled.
According to ESPN MMA journalist Brett Okomoto who has been first to interview UFC president Dana White on the matter the injury to Ferguson was sustained in a freak accident, on the only day of the year no one would believe it. This has since been confirmed by Ferguson himself.
I'm told the injury to Tony Ferguson was literally caused by a trip. The freak accident of all freak accidents. He was walking, saw someone he wasn't expecting to see, veered sharply to say hello and tripped.
— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) April 1, 2018
— Tony Ferguson (@TonyFergusonXT) April 2, 2018
In response to the situation, Nurmagomedov who has been taking some heat from Ferguson in the verbals for pulling out of their last fight with a weight cut issue, has responded with what appears to be uncertainty or perhaps just disbelief. He does not do so without first passing one last warning to Ferguson, a gesture which shows the real dislike these two have for each other, a matter yet again that we will not be able to see resolved in the cage.
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Tony heal up man. Just want to advise you, don’t talk too much anymore. Lot of thoughts in my head right now, but I don’t want to become like you. Hope, this lesson will teach you watch your mouth. ❗️ На счёт этой ситуации я просто хочу сказать Тони: больше не болтай, в голове конечно много мыслей, на тебя похожим не буду, надеюсь этот урок научит тебя следить за языком. #ready #ufc223 #Alhamdulillah #победатолькоотВсевышнего
Where does this leave us then? Well, some way somehow we still have a great fight on our hands. Max Holloway, the current 145 lbs champion, has agreed to step in to replace Ferguson on just six days notice. The fight will, according to Dana White be for the undisputed (that’s right no interim this time) UFC lightweight title, therefore it seems safe to assume Ferguson will be stripped. This would make Holloway a two division belt holder à la Conor McGregor or if the fight was to go the other way, Nurmagomedov the first Russian UFC champion ever which are equally exciting prospects regardless of result. Holloway has previously stated that he envisioned a move to lightweight at some point in his career and will prove a tough challenge for the undefeated Nurmagomedov however, he does have a style which in many ways is closely comparable to Ferguson. It seems likely then that Nurmagomedov’s specific training for Ferguson will not have been entirely in vain.
In what has been a roller coaster of personal MMA emotion regarding this fight it appears what this maybe late and very convincing April fools has given us is a rare match up win – win, either we get Nurmagomedov Vs. Ferguson and the only thing lost is a notable period of some MMA journalist’s Sunday evening or we get Nurmagomedov Vs. Holloway with a lot on the line. Why then does it still feel like a lose?