Nurmagomedov said this morning that when he heard about Ferguson's injury, he didn't believe it at first.
The scheduled lightweight championship title fight between Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov is no longer going ahead. The only other fighter to have done so is global superstar Conor McGregor. That's because UFC president Dana White isn't ever going to book this matchup again.
He said: "Words can't express how hurt, frustrated, angry and in disbelief I am right now".
"I scared about this when I think about this", Nurmagomedov said.
The event has been saved, though, as the MMA community is in disbelief that current featherweight champion Max Holloway has agreed to step in as a last-minute replacement with the undisputed lightweight championship on the line.
It appears as if Conor McGregor has officially been 100% stripped of the belt, and Ferguson will likely lose the interim title in the process as an official champion will be named on Saturday. "I need this guy", "Because he put a tweet couple weeks ago, 'Stay ready'". "I want to apologize to all the fans, the UFC, Khabib, my teammates, my coaches, my friends and most importantly my family". I watch all his 12 win streak, no ones' like me. I think about maybe [Dustin] Poirier, [Eddie] Alvarez, because Poirier fights next week. Unfortunately, Ferguson was forced to withdraw just six days before the fight after suffering a torn knee ligament, per Brett Okamoto of ESPN. Six days to make weight? "I need to fight for the title". We now have an awesome main event between the UFC's featherweight champion Max Holloway and Khabib Nurmagomedov, but we will always wonder what could have been.
You know what they say: To be the best you've got to beat the best, and the best is 'Blessed, ' baby.
The pair were then matched to meet in an interim lightweight title clash at UFC 209 in Las Vegas, but Nurmagomedov suffered health issues during his weight cut and was pulled from the fight on medical grounds.
Many have already commended Max for taking the fight but against a grappler of Khabib's strength and size, a win for him would perhaps be one of the greatest upsets in the history of the sport. But now, he is on different territory, different weight class, different animals.