UFC champion Khabib Nurmagomedov believes Tony Ferguson only has himself to blame for repeatedly missing opportunities for a showdown.
With Khabib currently serving a nine-month suspension, UFC offered Ferguson an interim lightweight fight instead only for the American to reject it, saying it didn’t meet his ‘standards.’
After Ferguson’s refusal, UFC offered the fight with Max Holloway at UFC236 on April 13 to Dustin ‘Diamond’ Poirier instead.
Khabib Nurmagomedov has told challenger Tony Ferguson he ‘only has himself to blame’ for missing the chance to fight him in an unsympathetic Instagram post
Tony Ferguson celebrates his stunning win over Anthony Pettis at UFC 229 in October
And now Khabib has criticised Ferguson’s decision to turn down the fight, saying it’s his own fault he has lost the chance to take him on once he has served his ban.
Khabib and Ferguson have been booked to fight each other on four occasions, only for the contest to fall through each time.
In a lengthy Instagram statement, Khabib said: ‘I want to remind you guys, that before I become champion, I was close to the title fight 3 times and all 3 times I missed my opportunity.
‘First was in July 2016 when I was offered to fight in Ramadan month and I turned it down, second was UFC 205 NYC when I was offered a title fight, bout agreement signed, but my title was given away, you know the story.
‘Third time was UFC 209 where I was hospitalized and almost died.
‘But after every single fail I (was told): you missed your chance, earn your shot with one more victory.
Khabib pictured after his win over Conor McGregor at UFC 229 in Las Vegas last October
American Ferguson has been slated to fight Khabib four times but each has fallen through
‘Tony you had your chance and you missed it, and that’s your fault only. You know that I’m disqualified and can’t fight, but it’s not fair to strip me of the title, I fought 3 times in 9 months. I won and defended my belt.
‘As a fighter you deserve a title fight, you are great fighter and opponent, but now you have to fight or wait for my DQ to be over and fight (but UFC doesn’t want it).
‘I don’t understand your offenses, if you fell down, you got to get up, not complain.’
The last time both Ferguson and Khabib fought was at UFC 229, when Ferguson defeated Anthony Pettis with a stunning TKO.
That came before Khabib’s submission win over Conor McGregor. The post-fight brawl led to Khabib being handed a nine-month ban.