Khabib Nurmagomedov apparently is ready to leave the past behind himself and Tony Ferguson.

For years, Nurmagomedov has engaged in a heated rivalry with Ferguson, whom he was supposed to fight last month in a highly anticipated UFC lightweight title bout. But coronavirus-related travel restrictions forced Nurmagomedov to pull out, with Justin Gaethje taking his place Saturday at UFC 249.

Gaethje wound up pummeling Ferguson to earn the interim lightweight belt while also setting the stage for an eventual title-unification fight with Nurmagomedov.

After the heartbreaking loss, Ferguson threw subtle shade at Nurmagomedov, who responded with a vague, two-word reaction. However, Nurmagomedov later offered a surprising message of support to someone who has worked tirelessly for the opportunity to take him on.

“Whatever happened is in the past,” Nurmagomedov tweeted. “Heads up Tony, I hope everything is good with you and your family. When your son grow up, he’ll be proud with you.”

Yeah, that’s a slightly different tune than Nurmagomedov sings when discussing Conor McGregor.

Of course, there still is hope for a fight between Ferguson and Nurmagomedov. But, if Saturday taught us anything, it’s that Gaethje should not be counted out against anyone, including an all-time great like Nurmagomedov.

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