Tony Ferguson has big dreams, or perhaps, smaller ones.
The second-ranked lightweight is coming off a sensational performance against former champion Rafael dos Anjos back in November, setting the record for most consecutive wins in the UFC lightweight division and positioning himself on the short list of title contenders for Conor McGregor's lightweight championship. That would be more than enough for most fighters, and would likely eventually lead him to a title shot if he was willing to wait, but Ferguson doesn't intend to rest on his laurels.
Speaking with Fox Sports recently, Ferguson said he's looking to get back into action quickly and he doesn't care if it's for a belt because that's not his goal. He doesn't want to be a champion, he wants to be the best fighter in the world.
"The belt is extra cookies on top of the cake but it's not really something I'm focused on. Once I lose focus that's when I'm going to go tumbling down the hill. I feel like I've gotten to this spot and I deserve whatever I get coming, which is that belt. I'm looking for pound-for-pound list to be the best in the world and it takes belts to get there so let's get there."
Unfortunately for Ferguson, the lightweight belt is likely out of his grasp for now. After Conor McGregor won the title at UFC 205, he announced the impending birth of his first child and it's expected that he won't return to action until next summer. Furthermore, there's speculation that McGregor will jump up to welterweight to challenge for his third title instead of immediately defending his lightweight belt. With this in mind, number one ranked lightweight contender Khabib Nurmagomedov has been vocal in suggesting he and Ferguson fight for an interim title in the spring while the division waits on McGregor. Ferguson is looking for something sooner though.
"I'm looking towards the next fight. I worked on healing already. I had something signed up in January already but the opponent needed some more time to heal apparently. I'm ready to go. Less talk, more walk.
"They wanted something to happen in Anaheim and I was pretty down for it. Khabib's [Nurmagomedov] name came up and management talked about it and they came back at me that he needed more time. So whatever. It would have been awesome to fight in my hometown. It would have been bad ass."
Lightweight isn't the only belt he can fight for though. Ferguson said he wants to win multiple belts to cement himself as the pound-for-pound best and he's just as happy starting in another division if that's what it takes, including dropping down to challenge newly reinstated featherweight champion Jose Aldo.
"Maybe Aldo. Jump down to 145, see what's up down there. 155's pretty fun. Maybe bump up to 170. Just thinking about my weight right now, my wife got me this juice cleanse because I was getting kind of heavy. I should step on the scale right now — 185 [pounds]."
Cutting 40 pounds to make the featherweight limit would be no small feat and would instantly make Ferguson one of if not the biggest fighters in the division. Conor McGregor's time at featherweight was marked by enormous weight cuts that had him looking skeletal on the scale and McGregor was only cutting from somewhere around 170 pounds. And while cutting fifteen more pounds than McGregor did may not seem realistic, Ferguson is confident he can make the weight and welcomes the challenge.
"I can do it. I'm a wrestler. I've been doing this a long time. I'm really focused. 145 would be really fun to test myself mentally, too. A lot of people, they like to climb these peaks and they like to do all these other things. I like to push my body to just extremity to get past the mental toughness barriers. So fighting at 145, that would be great. If Kenny Florian can do it, I can do it."
And of course if he could manage it, Ferguson like's his chances down there as well.
"I think I would pose a big threat at 145."
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Requisite boxer talking about beating up Conor vid.
Anything so Canelo doesn't have to fight GGG.
Must be pretty intelligent, I'm here not bad for a punk drunk https://t.co/2X1nRd3Npx— Cody Garbrandt (@Cody_Nolove) December 5, 2016
The rare fighter coming off a win calling a guy coming off a loss.
Sounds like they've got a new member.
Just had an awesome conversation with @Themmaaa. Excited for the fighters to be able to latch onto an assoc. that wants to fight for us.— Cole Miller (@colemillerATT) December 6, 2016
Jorge is heated.
This will be my first full camp since August 2014. #FullCampLando— Lando Vannata (@GroovyLando) December 6, 2016
Might try and run it back it seems.
RT if you want to see this fight again!! pic.twitter.com/liY7GaxnGi— UFC (@ufc) December 5, 2016
Sage getting widespread.
HI @sagenorthcutt WE LIKE CRUSHED APPLES TOO— Cosmopolitan (@Cosmopolitan) December 5, 2016
He's got both belts.
And a retread.
Grown man strength.
TODAY IN MMA HISTORY
2014: Robbie Lawler became the UFC welterweight champion when he won a split decision over Johny Hendricks in their rematch at UFC 181. The co-main event that evening saw Anthony Pettis successfully defend his lightweight title by submitting Gilbert Melendez with a guillotine choke.
Tony would definitely pose a big threat at FW, that's what an extra 40 pounds will do. I genuinely hope he never tries to make 145 because that is disturbingly unhealthy and even if he can make it he shouldn't. Cutting 30 to make lightweight is still an big weight cut, stick with that.
Until tomorrow M.Rmy, be easy.
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