Tony Ferguson has revealed that while he does respect UFC 209 opponent Khabib Nurmagomedov, he cannot ignore the fact that his undefeated record is padded.
The two fighters will face off at the next UFC pay-per-view at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas to determine a new interim lightweight champion, with the winner eventually challenging Conor McGregor for his title.
"El Cucuy" has a 21-3 record in MMA and is currently on a dominant nine fight winning streak while Nurmagomedov is 8-0 in the UFC and 24-0 in MMA overall.
Despite "The Eagle's" impressive unbeaten streak, Ferguson believes the record is padded and that he can outlast him in the octagon.
"Absolutely, you have to respect him," Ferguson said when asked if he respected Nurmagomedov. "He has [a] 24 win streak but it's a padded record. I've seen it all the time. As far as conditioning goes, he's only got two rounds in him."
"I've been going four rounds, five rounds. Mexico City, we're supposed to fight elevation. I was ready to go another 10. I was ready to go man."
When asked of his strategy to beat Nurmagomedov, Ferguson revealed he is going to beat the 28-year-old mentally.
"Basically we're going to make him quit," Ferguson said in a Q&A. "We're going to put the pressure on this guy. He only prepares for two rounds, as far as his padded record goes."
"I'm not a stranger to conditioning. The act of resting, and doing all these different types of things, mental toughness and ice baths and doing all these things that nobody wants to do is what keeps me inside that octagon and keeps me fresh.
"The strategy with Khabib is to beat him mentally. I've seen this guy quit and I've seen him cry in the sambo match. I'm going to do that same thing. I'm going to hit him in the stomach so hard, he's going to take a knee and he's going to ask for me to stop. But the only person who is going to stop [it] is Herb Dean or John McCarthy."
Ferguson also previously warned Nurmagomedov not to look past him and focus on McGregor. UFC 209 takes place on 4 March.