Tony Ferguson signs contract to fight Khabib Nurmagomedov for lightweight title

Tony Ferguson will fight Khabib Nurmagomedov for the UFC lightweight title in New York on April 18.

Nurmagomedov will defend his belt against his long-standing rival at the Barclays Center after both fighters agreed to the 155-pound fight.

ESPN reported that Ferguson put pen to paper for the bout after he and his representatives met with UFC bosses in Las Vegas on Friday.

Nurmagomedov, who extended his unbeaten record in UFC with victory over Dustin Poirier in September, had already signed his contract earlier in the week.

It is a fight that has been a long time coming, with the pair previously scheduled to meet four times since 2015 but still yet to go head-to-head in the Octagon.

Nurmagomedov pulled out of their first organised bout four years ago due to injury and also withdrew in 2017 as a result of weight issues.

Meanwhile, injuries to Ferguson prevented the fight from taking place in 2016 and 2018.

The 35-year-old from California has previously held the interim lightweight title in 2017 and currently has a 25-3 record in MMA after winning 18 of his last 19 bouts.

His last fight saw him beat Donald Cerrone by TKO at UFC 238 in June, extending a run of victories that started against Mike Rio in 2013.

In comparison, Nurmagomedov boasts a 28-0 record in the Octagon and is widely considered one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world.

The 31-year-old's win over Poirier at UFC 242 came after he beat former lightweight champion Conor McGregor by fourth-round submission in 2018.

Despite reports that the Irishman would like a rematch, Nurmagomedov dismissed those suggestions during a recent Q&A .

“Honestly I don’t think he wants that fight," he said. "How is that so? I beat him up for four rounds. I beat him and choked him and he tapped.

"It was a sign he didn’t want to be there, ‘let me go please’ and all that. And now he wants the rematch.

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