Ferguson vs Khabib is the championship fight we all want. No matter what Dana Whites, Conor and Abdelazizes of the world say, I am convinced that this is the next championship fight we will see in LW. So I am going to assume that it will be the next fight for Beebs and Ferg. I have recently rewatched Fergs fight vs Castillo and Lee who are both solid wrestlers and this is what I think: Castillo was able to take Ferguson down at will and Ferguson didn't have much of a TDD. One can argue that it was a long time ago, but his recent fight with Lee showed us that his TDD has not improved since that fight. Ferguson is very active in the guard in both fights, scrambling, being offensive and trying to go for submissions, but ultimately he is being on the bottom and is unable to get away from both guys. Castillo is able to stay on top, but is not very active, he is mostly in the guard but occasionally got to some dominant positions. He was not active with GNP and didn't do a lot of damage. Lee on the other hand was able to mount Ferguson and land some vicious ground and pound, especially in the first round. Lee was in mount position landing shots for about 30 seconds in the end of the round and Ferguson managed to explode out of the mount with 3 seconds left while still being pounded on. In the 3rd round Lee was so gassed that he decided to take a breather in Fergusons guard and got caught with a triangle. It was by not means a quick triangle. If Lee had anything left in the gas tank he could have fought it off, but it's almost like he was so tired and checked out mentally, that he decided that he didn't want to fight the last two championship rounds. Also while taking a breather in the guard he got peppered with elbows. It was a beautiful come back for Ferguson, but it must be noted that Lees conditioning has never been the greatest and he was coming in after a staph infection. So with the Castillo and Lee fights in mind: 1. Conditioning: Cardio will not be a problem for neither of the guys. None of the guys have really ever run out of gas in any of their fights and I don't think this should be an issue for these two. Ferg has great cardio and Khabib has his high altitude training in the mountains of Dagestan and is an extremely strong and durable fighter. 2. Wrestling and takedowns: I think Ferg will get taken down at will since Khabib has a higher pedigree when it comes to wrestling and grappling than both Castillo and Lee. If you want to argue this, consider that Khabib is a master of sport in sambo, wrestling and judo. He is also a 2 x world combat sambo champion. Ferguson will not be stuffing no take downs from Khabib, no way no how. So Ferguson will be taken down. I think it's hard to argue against that. Well on the ground, Khabib will be keeping him there, he's made a career of controlling his opponents on the ground and is the absolute best at that in MMA today. It's not just my opinion, many fighters, coaches, experts etc in the MMA community are saying this. So I think Ferguson is not getting up after he gets taken down by Khabib. With Khabib's control of the opponents limbs, pushing him into to the fence and placing his forehead on opponents chin, I do not see many elbows landing from the bottom for Ferguson. Khabib is also not the type of guy who will take a breather in Tonys guard, he is constantly moving around and looking for dominant positions. The only time I have seen Khabib in someones guard for an extended period of time was against McGregor when he was pounding his ass out in the second round . 3. Submissions: After Poirier fight it's natural that people start thinking about Fergusons submissions and his killer D'arce choke. I think that the submission threat is there, but Khabib is also a master grappler who has fought several BJJ black belts before and he submitted the last one he fought. He is also a grappler capable of submitting people. A difference between Khabib and Lee + Castillo is known for pushing people up against the fence when they are down to limit their ability to move unlike Lee and Castillo who took down Ferg in the open. By the cage there will be a lot less room to manoeuvre, scramble or go for submissions. I also think the sub threat when he goes for the take down will look different. I do not think that Khabib will be approaching Ferg the same way as he did with Poirier. According to Khabib's father, in an interview that I translated ahead of their 4th fight that didn't happen, Khabib won't go for the doubles against Ferg, he will instead use the Greco-Roman clinch take downs which means will not expose his neck. If you look at his different fights he uses different approaches for different opponents. Against Iaquinta and Conor he used single leg take down and in his last fight against Poirier he used the explosive double leg take downs. As I mentioned above, Khabib is not only a high level wrestler he is also skilled at other grappling arts such as judo and sambo, which means he has a very wide arsenal of TDs and is by no means a one trick pony when it comes to that. He has singles, doubles, trips, sweeps, greco-roman style takedowns from the clinch and by the waist. This is what makes him such a diverse grappler and I think this is the reason that no one has figured him out yet, because if one thing doesn't work he can always mix it up. Against Ferg I think he will avoid exposing his neck, by going for the takedowns where you don't have to (greco-roman or judo/sambo trips). The submission threat is always there with Ferg who is very active and aggressive on the ground, but I think Khabib is too experienced grappler to get subbed, remember he has been doing this literally since he learned how to walk. The reason I think Khabib gave Dustin his neck like he did in the last fight is because he didn't respect and didn't fear Dustin's grappling game and also to burn his arms out. I don't think he will be doing that against Ferg. 4. Striking: This is an area where I see a big advantage for Ferguson. He has a MASSIVE (194 cm vs 178 cm) reach advantage and wider variety of techniques. Ferg also has nice footwork and very unorthodox movement. If someone has a chance of keeping Khabib at distance and keep dancing around in circles and not let Khabib get close, it's Ferg. One advantage that Khabib has over Ferg is the stronger chin. Ferg has a suspect chin and has been dropped a lot in his career which makes me think that if Khabib lands the Henderson overhand like he did against Conor he can K.O. him. Khabib was the first guy to drop Conrad on his ass after all. But in general Ferg will have an advantage here and will be able to gut Khabib up with his elbows which he uses masterfully. Ferg can cut Khabib up and TKO him through doctor stoppage or KO him through accumulation of damage. Khabi's striking has improved a lot, but is still average at best. I will not make any predictions, but I do see Khabib as a big favourite because he usually controls where the fight takes place. Khabib's key to victory IMHO is to do his usual take down and SMESH routine. Fergusons key to victory is keep it standing and use his unorthodox striking to fukk Khabib up. I have seen some people suggesting he should should not be afraid of TD since he is good of his back, I'm sorry I just don't see that being a good idea against Khabib.