clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Morning Report: Planning fall return, Tony Ferguson believes he’s ‘still the true 155-pound champion’

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov were supposed to fight at UFC 223 for the right to be called the undisputed UFC lightweight champion. Unfortunately, Ferguson injured his knee shortly before the event and had to have surgery so Nurmagomedov ended up fighting Al Iaquinta for the title instead, cruising to an easy victory. Nurmagomedov has indicated he would like to defend his title sometime in November or December, and when he does, Ferguson says he will be ready and waiting.

“The doctor told me recovery time is anywhere from three to six months with this kind of procedure, but I heal quick,” Ferguson told ESPN recently. “Whenever Khabib’s b**ch ass comes back, that’s when I’ll be back. I’m thinking November.

”The UFC has indicated my title is gone and Khabib is the only champion at 155 pounds, but the UFC hasn’t mentioned anything official to my management. As far as I’m concerned, I’m still the true 155-pound champion. I never lost my belt.”

Ferguson and Nurmagomedov have been circling each other for years, with four separate fights falling through. At one point they were booked for a title fight against each other but Nurmagomedov pulled out the day before with a failed weight cut. Instead, Ferguson was rebooked against Kevin Lee for an interim title shot that he won.

However, despite the fact that Ferguson was previously a title holder for the UFC, he isn’t first in line for Nurmagomedov. That honor would fall to former lightweight champion Conor McGregor, who the UFC stripped of the title when Nurmagomedov beat Iaquinta. If Nurmagomedov fights McGregor this fall, that leaves Ferguson in the lurch and looking for another opponent which he says would be a real “kick to the groin” from the UFC since he was previously set to make more money as a champion.

“That’s a big middle finger to ‘T-Ferg’ right there - that’s a kick to the groin if they do that,” Ferguson said. “At the end of the day, does the UFC really like its fighters? I’m one of their toughest fighters. Don’t kick me when I’m down.

”I missed out on pay-per-view points, my purse, a big payday; a lot of things behind the scenes. They have to either give me my title back or make sure I’m fighting under that same contract. I’ve earned that.”

Ferguson was injured during a UFC promotional appearance and stripped of his title through no fault of his own. He is currently riding a 10-fight win streak in the UFC’s lightweight division, the longest such streak for any fighter who is not a champion. Ferguson believes these facts mean he deserves to be held up as champion, regardless of the marketing opportunities having Nurmagomedov as champion would present or the allure of a Nurmagomedov-McGregor fight. At the end of the day, Ferguson says, the UFC should have stripped McGregor and made him champion, and Nurmagomedov should have his old interim belt.

“I thought Al Iaquinta did a great job at UFC 223, but Khabib is going to say he won the Super Bowl after he faced the third string?” he said. “No way, dude. So many people hold him up on a high horse, but I see his flaws. I wasn’t impressed with anything he did.

”I think the UFC is going to do what they want to do, like any other time. But it’s disrespectful to me to strip my title. I should still be the interim champion. In fact, I should be the champion and Khabib should be the interim champion.”


Grit. Raquel Pennington’s head coach explains decision to not stop UFC 224 fight.

Nate. Sacramento sheriff to investigate Nate Diaz for alleged battery at Combate Americas.

Legend. Chuck Liddell tells Jon Jones he could ‘learn from a true legend’.

Bet. UFC issues statement on the SCOTUS decision striking down ban on sports betting.

Healthy. Mackenzie Dern weighed 139.5 lbs. days before UFC 224, ‘wasn’t able to stand up.’


The MMA After Hour.

If you don’t love KSW, we don’t love you.

BTS for UFC Chile.

Chael posting some BTS stuff from back in the day in Pride.


Fights Gone By. Discussing UFC 224 and Mackenzie Dern.

The MMA Circus. Discussing UFC 224, UFC Chile, and Chuck Liddell’s return.





Today I did something that I’ve never in my life done before. It may seem so small to most people but to me it was an accomplishment. Most people that know me well, know how much I love my alone time, but I’m also a very social person. I live alone and believe that everyone in their lifetime at one point should live by them self. Being alone with your thoughts, your emotions and your fears in my opinion is a faster track to self improvement, self awareness and personal growth. So today I went to lunch by myself, something I have never done before. I don’t judge people for going to eat alone, the movies alone, etc, I more look up and admire them, it’s just something that I have never done. I sat eating lunch and watching the people around me, some out with their kids, some on a date, some just enjoying a good meal on a rainy day. Me on the other hand, I was there because i was sad and feeling sorry for myself. A lot of thoughts went through my mind, of course, Saturday night haunted me. UFC, main card, PPV, undefeated opponent, just a few of the things that 3 days ago meant everything to me. But today, after about 30 mins of fighting the urge to cry in public I decided to go through some of my messages and photos that I got over the week in Brazil. I finally started to cry, not because I was sad or because I was thinking of my fight, I cried because all of the photos in my phone. The bond, the support and the love that I got last week was unreal. I have the most amazing group of friends, family, teammates and fans, I am a lucky 26 year old girl. I get to travel the world with the people I love and inspire those around me with hard work, dedication and the love for this sport. So many personal thank yous I will do but for now I need to thank everyone, for the many years of love you have given me. If losing a fight is the worst day of my life, I live a pretty cool life.

A post shared by Amanda Bobby Cooper (@abcnation115) on



Who should he fight?


Craig White (14-7) vs. Neil Magny (20-6); UFC Liverpool, May 27.


2015: Frankie Edgar won a unanimous decision over Urijah Faber at UFC Fight Night 66.


Take it easy and see y’all tomorrow.



Been awhile so, who wins?

This poll is closed

  • 54%
    (925 votes)
  • 45%
    (783 votes)
1708 votes total Vote Now

If you find something you'd like to see in the Morning Report, hit up @JedKMeshew on Twitter and let him know about it. Also follow MMAFighting on Instagram, add us on Snapchat at MMA-Fighting, and like us on Facebook.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the MMA Fighting Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your fighting news from MMA Fighting