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Morning Report: Tony Ferguson to Nate Diaz: Fight or retire

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Tony Ferguson EL
Tony Ferguson

At UFC 209, Tony Ferguson was supposed to face Khabib Nurmagomedov for the UFC interim lightweight title. Unfortunately, one of the most anticipated fights of the year was upended when Nurmagomedov failed to make it to the weigh-ins, having been transported to the hospital instead. Now, Ferguson is bereft of both opponent and title shot and left to figure out a new plan in a division where most of the top contenders are already booked.

“There’s a few things we’re trying to get in order,” Ferguson told The Las Vegas Review-Journal recently. “We were trying to get a fight in before Ramadan but Khabib doesn’t want to fight. He has a lot of issues going on with his stomach, so we’re trying to figure out who’s next but I don’t want to go backwards. I want to go forward and I think Nate Diaz, with his ranking at number eight, then Michael Johnson and so on and so forth, I’m kind of just chilling right now. I’m enjoying my time being a father and having fun with this stuff.”

The UFC lightweight division is almost completely booked right now. Conor McGregor is chasing down a boxing match with Floyd Mayweather. Nurmagomedov isn’t likely to return until the fall, with the holy month of Ramadan beginning this May and going through late June. Eddie Alvarez is taking on Dustin Poirier at UFC 211 and Michael Chiesa is facing Kevin Lee in June,. The next ranked contender that Ferguson hasn’t already faced — yet doesn’t have something set up — is Nate Diaz. The problem is that Diaz seems to have little to no interest in the fight. Perhaps hoping to change that, Ferguson called out Diaz for not wanting to fight anyone not named Conor McGregor.

“I’m down for the battle of California,” he said. “[Diaz] wants to represent 209. I’m from 805 in the Oxnard area. I think, obviously, my hands are a lot better. I think this game is about the glory and not all about the money. Obviously you have to make you piece in this industry but s**t, Nate, if you don’t want to fight, move on. Retire. Go do something else because we’re here to fight in this industry and everybody else is taken so Nate would be the next one up.”

The optimal opponent for Ferguson would be McGregor, but a title fight with the Irish target doesn’t appear to be even a remote possibility right now. UFC President Dana White has been very public that he’s committed to making the McGregor-Mayweather superfight, which leaves Ferguson in the lurch. Ferguson believes that his next fight will be for the interim title no matter what, while McGregor remains out of the pocket.

“If Conor doesn’t step up, they’ll make an interim belt,” he said. “I think they’re gonna make an interim belt either way. I just think interim is a word that they throw around a lot and it’s gonna be thrown my way. I don’t think anything else is going to change right now. Conor’s obviously the favorite at my weight class but I don’t play favorite. I knock ‘em all out. I finish them, D’arce or knockout, so it doesn’t matter. The division’s full of guys moving up and down weight classes or guys going to fight in other sports, but we’re really here. This is a shark tank. I’m a hammerhead still and you’re gonna see these guys come in my division and I’m gonna chew them up and spit them out. This is my division.”

Regardless of what Diaz does, for Ferguson, it’s pretty simple: he wants to fight for the title, whoever it’s against.

“That belt. We need to fight for that belt.”


MUST-READ STORIES

Irate. Chris Weidman’s coach Ray Longo went off about the UFC 210 fiasco.

Rematch. Anderson Silva is interested in Nick Diaz rematch, not fights with Luke Rockold or Vitor Belfort.

Legal. The NYSAC say instant replay was legally used in the Weidman-Mousasi fight at UFC 210.

Needy. Daniel Cormier believes Jon Jones needs the rematch more than he does.

Self-destructive. Henri Hooft says Anthony Johnson got “beat by himself” against Daniel Cormier.

Dirty. Michelle Waterson rips Germaine de Randamie as a “dirty fighter.”


VIDEO STEW

Free fight.

Fight motion is awesome.

TTTHS.

Aldo-Holloway staredown. One of the best possible fights in MMA today.


LISTEN UP

Anik and Flo. Ray Longo goes ham about the UFC 210 fight.

Severe MMA. Some towelgate talk and a look at the weekend ahead.

Beatdown. UFC 210 talk as well as how to make Demetrious Johnson a star.


SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE

Wouldn’t that be something...

You can take the fighter out of the UFC, but you can’t take the Reebok out of the fighter.

Gina trying to get that Southwest sponsorship.

Take this with an enormous grain of salt.

It’s the one he’s always wanted.

Ugh. Someone get him a writer, please.

Still rocking that Akhmat shirt despite everything.

USADA.

Just Say No Kids ... Train hard Fight Clean !!!!!! #USADA #ufc211 #eafight #thnq

A post shared by Eddie Alvarez (@ealvarezfight) on


FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Jessica Aguilar (19-5) vs. Cortney Casey (6-4); UFC 211, May 13.

Holly Holm (10-3) vs. Bethe Correia (10-2-1); UFC Fight Night: Singapore, June 17.


FINAL THOUGHTS

That’s all folks. Have a good one and see y’all tomorrow.


If you find something you'd like to see in the Morning Report, just hit me up on Twitter @JedKMeshew and let me know about it. Also follow MMAFighting on Instagram and add us on Snapchat at MMA-Fighting because we post dope things and you should enjoy it.

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