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Tony Ferguson: Conor McGregor used a ‘Game Genie’ to get to the top

LOS ANGELES — If the fight business is like a video game, then Tony Ferguson believes Conor McGregor relied on the cheat codes for a little help in getting to the top.

Both McGregor and Ferguson hold currently versions of the UFC lightweight championship. But McGregor is the bigger star by orders of magnitude, and Ferguson, who defends his belt against Khabib Nurmagomedov in the main event of UFC 223 on April 7, was given a much more difficult path to the top than McGregor.

Ferguson believes McGregor used his mouth to get his biggest opportunities, which he compared to a gamer using a Game Genie, a contraption that was a primitive hacking device first used on the original Nintendo Entertainment System in the early 1990s.

“Conor used the Game Genie to get to where he’s at,” Ferguson said Thursday. “Now if you play video games all the time and you’re a real gamer, you’re not going to use the Game Genie, you’re not going to use the codes. You’re going to go on there and get your ass kicked and you’re going to play it again.”

Ferguson does concede that McGregor has made the most of the opportunities he’s been granted once the Octagon gate locks. But Ferguson has never been one to substitute talk for fighting and he’s not about to start now.

“When I used the words that Conor used the Game Genie, I said that he talked his way into it,” Ferguson said. “Which I’m not bashing. But I’m saying that he used a method that not a lot of people get to use. Because when we get into the fight game, we get into it, not to do this (makes hand-talking gesture). I’m blessed with that. I speak what’s real. ... I’ve earned my way here. I don’t want anyone else carrying my torch because that torch is heavy.”

Ferguson and McGregor could end up on opposite sides of the cage one day. If Ferguson beats Nurmagomedov, that would enhance his spot on the short list of options as a potential opponent for McGregor’s next fight. But he’s not about to spend his downtime on social media trying to troll McGregor into accepting a fight.

“I said he used the Game Genie,” Ferguson said. ”Everybody is so uptight worried about what everyone else thinks. Stop. Unplug, go out. Do something with your life. Get off of this sh*t (makes motion like scrolling through a cell phone). Go do something.”