UFC

Khabib Nurmagomedov, Tony Ferguson face off during intense stare down ahead of UFC 209

LAS VEGAS -- With only 48 hours to go until UFC 209, Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson came face-to-face for the first time during fight week on Thursday after spending the afternoon answering questions from the media.

UFC president Dana White wasn't wasting any time putting himself between the two lightweight contenders because he knew the stare down was going to get intense in a hurry.

The face off on Thursday was actually the third time Nurmagomedov and Ferguson have come nose-to-nose but now they are finally ready to meet in the Octagon after injuries have derailed two previously scheduled bouts.

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Nurmagomedov remembers those first two face offs with Ferguson, particularly because his opponent was wearing sunglasses, which is something he clearly doesn't enjoy.

"First time he come to stare down with sunglasses, like stupid sunglasses," Nurmagomedov told FOX Sports. "Second time he take off [the sunglasses] and I enjoy both of these. Stare downs for people are very interesting when two tough guys come, you can watch eyes. For me it's just fun.

"Sometimes I see something. Sometimes I cannot see. We'll see what happens today."

Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Tony Ferguson. Cannot wait! #UFC209 pic.twitter.com/D461Oz2JGg

— Damon Martin (@DamonMartin) March 2, 2017

It's clear that Nurmagomedov mentioned the sunglasses again on Thursday during an exchange of words with Ferguson on stage.

As for the No. 2 ranked lightweight contender currently riding a nine-fight win streak into Saturday night, he definitely takes the stare down with his opponents much more seriously.

Ferguson isn't trying to get into Nurmagomedov's head when looking him in the eye but instead he's sizing up his opponent psychologically to see if there are any weaknesses he can exploit in the fight.

"I know what side he's going to shoot on. I know he wants to stay on [the left] side. I know exactly where his head's at. I can tell by his gate. I can read his demeanor," Ferguson said about the face off with Nurmagomedov. "I went to school for this stuff, too. I can tell a lot by the way he positions himself. The way he holds his chin high. The way he holds his hands. The way he holds his feet.

"From head to toe, I'm analyzing my opponent. He wants to dog me out, I'm thinking about a whole different thing. I see "The Matrix". I see numbers and signs going around in the sky and I look right through him. That's what I pick up."

It was clearly the most intense stare down from all the fighters who stepped onto the stage on Thursday as Nurmagomedov and Ferguson both look to pick up a huge win at UFC 209 with the victor also walking away with the interim lightweight championship.