Islam Makhachev wants to fight Tony Ferguson after UFC Vegas 31.
Makhachev is set to headline the Fight Night card on Saturday against Thiago Moises. If the Dagestani native wins, it’s likely he will get a top-ranked opponent and he’s hoping to face Ferguson next time out so he can finally retire him.
“I just want to help (Tony Ferguson) retire,” Islam Makhachev said to ESPN. “He lost his last three fights, he has to retire because all these guys from the top 10, all his three opponents, beat him very bad. I think he’s old now. He has to retire, but I can help him.”
If Makhachev does beat and finish Moises, he could very well land the Ferguson fight. There’s no question “El Cucuy” is on the downward trend of his career, and Makhachev certainly has a style that could give Ferguson trouble. It would also be an intriguing matchup due to the fact Makhachev is Khabib Nurmagomedov protégé and Nurmagomedov and Ferguson had a rivalry and were supposed to fight five times. Although it’s not Nurmagomedov vs. Ferguson, it still would be a good fight to see.
Islam Makhachev is on a seven-fight winning streak and is ranked ninth at lightweight. Last time out, he picked up the biggest win of his career as he submitted Drew Dober in the third round at UFC 259. He also holds notable wins over Arman Tsarukyan, Davi Ramos, and Gleison Tibau.
Ferguson, meanwhile, is coming off back-to-back dominant decision losses to Beneil Dariush and Charles Oliveira. Prior to that, he suffered a TKO loss to Justin Gaethje for the interim lightweight title. If he does fight Makhachev next and loses, perhaps that would be the end of his career.