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Tony Ferguson takes aim at Conor McGregor: ‘He doesn't want any part of this'

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

With Conor McGregor likely out until mid-2017 due to the birth of his first child, much of the conversation following UFC 205 centered around what could be next for the new UFC lightweight champion. Names like Tyron Woodley, Nate Diaz, and even Khabib Nurmagomedov were floated as potential frontrunners to land the coveted fight by McGregor's team, but one individual was curiously absent from many of those lists: Tony Ferguson.

Ferguson is currently the 155-pound division's hottest fighter, having won a record-breaking nine consecutive UFC lightweight bouts en route to title contention. Ferguson put an exclamation mark on his title aspirations with a thrilling five-round victory over former champion Rafael dos Anjos just a week before UFC 205, yet still "El Cucuy" remains the forgotten man in the lottery to fight McGregor. And as it stands now, that's just fine with him.

"Honestly, people are going to do what they're going to do," Ferguson said on a recent edition of The MMA Hour. "This is the fight game. I'm not worried or scared about absolutely anybody who's not talking about me. That dude (McGregor) does not want any part of me. That dude got beat by a No. 5 in the world, Nate Diaz. Everybody's talking about him being the best, the best, the best. I'm like, dude, you got beat by No. 5. I'm No. 2. I'm the only name that he hasn't thrown out there in the wind.

"He doesn't want any part of this. So it's like I said, go ahead. You got a little pass from me. Go enjoy your family time. Do you thing and enjoy your life. You have some money, go ahead and go spend it. Do your thing, relax, enjoy your time, so I don't fight you. And while you're doing that, I'm going to keep over here wrecking this sh*t, me and my crew. And we're going to go onto the next stage, which is when you come back, we're going to wreck your ass."

Ferguson's stance should come as no surprise; his insistence on continuing to fight and take on all comers regardless of circumstance has remained the same throughout his run. It's the reason why he accepted a dangerous fight like dos Anjos rather than wait for a contender riding a win streak.

Considering the shifting matchmaking priorities amongst the UFC ranks, Ferguson's attitude is a throwback to more reckless times. And he believes that attitude is exactly what the division needs most right now.

"I'm glad Conor's got that [belt], because right now he can try to enjoy it as much as he wants to. I know fatherhood's a great thing, so I can appreciate that. So enjoy your time, do your thing, whatever you've got to do, and then when you come back, we'll be ready for you," Ferguson said.

"I always said the 155-pound belt's been in so many grubby hands, man. It's never stayed there for three years. We've never had somebody to secure the legacy for the 155-pound division. All the champions, to the guys way back then. Like Georges St-Pierre at 170, 185 for Anderson Silva. You have B.J. Penn, but nobody's really secured it at 155 pounds for more than three years. That thing's been in so many f*cking hands. There really needs to be a real champion there, and that's me."