Tony Ferguson could possibly be the best lightweight on Earth, but he’s having a hard time proving it.
The former Ultimate Fighter winner is currently second in the UFC lightweight rankings behind Khabib Nurmagomedov and the champion Conor McGregor. He was set to face Nurmagomedov for an interim title earlier this year but Nurmagomedov was forced to withdraw from the bout the day before due to a weight cutting issue that hospitalized him. Now, Nurmagomedov says he won’t return until after Ramadan, and with McGregor currently chasing down a boxing match with Floyd Mayweather, Ferguson is left without a dance partner.
Enter Nathan Diaz.
Nate Diaz is only the eighth-ranked lightweight according to the UFC but he has something even more important than a number next to his name: star power. A well-known fighter in his own right, Diaz rocketed to MMA superstardom when he choked out McGregor last year at UFC 196. Their rematch at UFC 202 was the biggest pay-per-view in UFC history and cemented Diaz’s status as a legitimate star. It also appears to have cemented his desire to sit out and wait for an epic trilogy fight with McGregor.
Though Ferguson has offered to fight Diaz for an interim title, there has been no movement from Diaz to accept and speaking with the 5ive Rounds podcast recently, Ferguson went off on Diaz for refusing to fight.
“He’s all on McGregor’s [expletive],” Ferguson said. “He’s like a f**king bad ex-girlfriend. Literally, a bad taste in somebody’s mouth if you win or you lose, you’ve gotta move on, dude. If you really want that money fight then you’re probably hurting for money. Literally, if you have that money fight, you should pay your taxes and then move on. This is a fighter sport. You’re ranked number what, eight? Ninth? Don’t you want to be better than that? S**t, dude you beat is ranked higher than you. Don’t you want an opportunity at the belt? Come on. I’m skipping a couple names but I’m giving you an opportunity. I’m doing you a favor, I’m not doing myself a f**king favor. I’m giving you a chance but if you don’t want it, that’s cool. I’ll give somebody else a chance.”
Except, of course, there aren’t any other lightweights available who can bring as much attention as Diaz would. But, Ferguson isn’t restricting himself to lightweights. Though he has said before that he intends to become a three-division world champion, Ferguson wanted to remind everyone that his career started out at 170 pounds and that he’s more than willing to move up to take on Tyron Woodley if that’s the only fight he can get.
“You want me to bump up a weight class and fight Tyron Woodley? I sized that dude up too and that dude is not that big. I sized up Wonderboy too. Carlos Condit. You know I got into this UFC game for Georges St-Pierre? Because he was at 170 pounds. When I fought I was 10-2, 11-2 after I won The Ultimate Fighter at 170 pounds. That was my 170-pound record, 11-2. I’m 23-3 now. So I’ve been fluctuating between two weight classes. I own 170 and 155. These are my weight classes. You want me to go back up to 170? I’m beefy. I feel good at 170. My wife loves me at 170. So, we’ve got options.”
Whether or not welterweight is actually a viable option for Ferguson is anybody’s guess. But Ferguson does note that if Diaz is truly looking for a “money fight” then he’s sort of the only game left in town; and then, to throw a little added incentive in there, Ferguson called into question the famous slogan that Nate and his elder brother Nick made famous, ‘Don’t be scared homie.’
“Nate, you’re not the last option. If you don’t want to fight, go hide in a hole. But you’ve got to admit on Twitter that you don’t want to fight me. You’re f**king scared homie. All that s**t’s gotta go out the f**king window. ‘Don’t be scared homie.’ People are gonna start throwing that s**t away and it’s gonna be crazy.
“You can wait for McNuggets but we all know if you wait for that fool, if he fights Mayweather and he doesn’t fight again, you might not get another chance for a big money fight besides this guy. So I’m giving you a shot. If you want it, it’s perfect. If you like it, sign on the dotted line.”
Rankings report. Forrest ends it on a great zinger.
Little bit of Conor training.
DC on GSP vs. JBJ getting a tune up fight and tossing some shade.
DC calling Dillashaw a snake... whoops?
Lauzon’s video blog.
Bushido Talk. UFC Nashville, upcoming events, International Fight Week and more.
SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE
Way to break kayfabe.
That escalated quickly.
@Marc_Diakiese Yeah send that over, all I'm gonna use it for is to smash your girls face into it. Can't be keeping my roommates up all night— Drakkar Klose (@drakkarklose) April 26, 2017
So Woodley won’t be fighting Maia if he wins? F**k. That.
Jackson-Wink not really addressing the underlying claim here...
Please, go run background checks on all the fighters you have trained with. Then come back again. https://t.co/2tRsPAGD39— JacksonWinkMMA (@JacksonWinkMMA) April 26, 2017
Not so Ragin’ Al.
For any of our readers over there.
I will be making a @ufc media tour next week through Singapore and Manila. Look forward to meeting everyone.— Gegard Mousasi (@mousasi_mma) April 26, 2017
This is a room of awesome. And TJ training with Bud Crawford is dope.
Bektic gonna be a problem soon.
Trust me, you need this clip in your life.
Chuck is looking good.
TODAY IN MMA HISTORY
2013: Jon Jones was thirty seconds away from losing his title at UFC 159 in his fight against Chael Sonnen. Jones beat Sonnen down but after the fight it was noticed that Jones had a severe toe fracture that would have likely necessitated a doctor stoppage had Sonnen made it out of the first round.
Diaz-Ferguson would be dope and I hope we get that if we aren’t gonna get Khabib vs. Tony.
Also, with TUF being an ongoing thing now, I was left wondering: which side of the Faber-Dillashaw beef are fans on? Both guys are saying the other is lying about the whole thing and it seems obvious to me which party to believe but perhaps everyone else sees it differently. If we still had polls I’d throw one up but since we don’t sound off in the comments and let me know whether you think Faber or T.J. is telling the truth about the you quit the team/you kicked me off the team debate.
Take it easy y’all and Conor bless.
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.