This weekend in Abu Dhabi, lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and interim lightweight champion Dustin Poirier will unify their belts in the main event of UFC 242. But while two of the best in the world battle it out for lightweight supremacy, one man will be conspicuously absent: former interim champion and top contender Tony Ferguson.
Through poor timing and sheer happenstance, Ferguson - who has won 12 fights in a row in the division - was once again denied his shot at the title when Poirier defeated featherweight champion Max Holloway to claim the interim title. But while many assumed Ferguson would end up as the emergency option should something happen to the main event as the UFC has recently made customary for big fights, speaking with Ariel Helwani of ESPN yesterday, Ferguson shot that notion down entirely, saying he was nobody’s backup plan.
“First of all, I’m not backup for anybody,” Ferguson said. “I’ve got 12 fights in a row. F*ck that. It was talked about it, I was kind of interested but at the end of the day I’m not here to be back up. I have a belt. I’ve won 12 in a row. The next fight that I have is for the belt. It’s gonna have to have a lot of build up, especially for the fans. It has to have the hype. It deserves a full camp and lead-up time.”
It makes sense as Ferguson has done more than enough to warrant a real title shot and both Khabib and Poirier have said he is next in line. His 12 wins in a row without having fought for an undisputed title is a record in the organization, and according to Ferguson, it’s not one he’s willing to extend any further. Recently, former two-division champion Conor McGregor mentioned Ferguson as a possible opponent for when he comes back but Ferguson told ESPN he has no interest in that fight and that it’s title shot or bust for him now.
“He’s not my concern,” Ferguson said. “He’s like a female, like one of those ex-girlfriends. I stopped worrying about that. At first he was in line, trying to go for the title, then once he became irrelevant, I stopped caring about the dude. Now he’s mentioning my name? Get the f*ck out of here.”
That’s not to say that Ferguson is opposed to fighting McGregor, he just wants his rightful title shot next. After that, if McGregor gets a win, preferably over whoever loses at UFC 242, then Ferguson says he’d be happy to oblige him and the UFC.
“If push comes to shove, and then we need to,” Ferguson said. “I see him fighting the loser of this next fight this weekend. If you want to keep up with the rankings, we have to do it the right way. . . So me, if I fight for the title next he’s got to fight for the underdog. If he wins, you what, maybe I’ll give him a shot.”
As for Saturday, Ferguson has been adamant that he’s hoping for a double KO - ironic as that may be the worst possible outcome for him personally - but if he had to choose, Ferguson says he’d prefer if Poirier got his hand raised on Saturday. But what he wants most is that the winner is ready to get back in there quickly so they can finally settle all business in the lightweight division before the end of the year.
“Hopefully Dustin gets a piece of him, throws him on his back, and puts him away, so we can have a good ol’ American f*cking battle, battle royale,” Tony Ferguson said. “Like I said, if push comes to shove and we need to do it, me and Khabib, we’ll go out there and we’ll handle this sh*t in December. So either Dustin or Khabib, title shot next, December, Las Vegas, let’s make it happen UFC brass.”
Cyborg reaction video.
Road to Abu Dhabi.
Countdown featherweight Grand Prix.
Joe saying he stills wants to see Nate-Conor 3.
Mookie & Crookie. Interviews with Phil Daru and John Nash.
SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE
Was there ever a doubt?
Maybe some cross-promotion.
Oooo, Gustafasson saying he’s been misunderstood.
just to be clear I have not challenged Luke come on lol I said “if I come back some day that would be a potentially a good fight” so u all now— Alexander Gustafsson (@AlexTheMauler) September 4, 2019
Khabib currently weighs 167.
View this post on Instagram
Вес Хабиба на данный момент! __ ❗️Сделал 76 кг, за 48 часов он проведёт четыре тренировки. За каждую тренировку нужно убрать около 1,5 кг. __ #россия #дагестан #спорт #мма #вес #нурмагомедов #вес #хабиб #оаэ #абудаби #russia #fight #mma #ufc #abudhabi #weightcut #khabib #khabibnurmagamedov #ufc242
Sounds like Jason Miller is back on a good path.
Mike Beltran getting his acting on.
Lomachenko. Pretty obviously.
Who has the better Combate resume?— Henry Cejudo (@HenryCejudo) September 3, 2019
2x Olympic gold medal
3 division world champion boxing
Henry “Triple C” Cejudo
1x Olympic champion
Two division world champion UFC
Two sport world champion
@lomachenkovasiliy You can bend the knee to Triple! pic.twitter.com/aI2cnfiedM
Don’t put it past him.
Can Conor and Irish thugs show up so we can get a team brawl?? https://t.co/qhzLjwtHXH— Ben Askren (@Benaskren) September 3, 2019
Taleb looking ready to go.
.Once again I'm in the best shape of my life, can't stop improving! #alhamdulillah I'm prepared for anything but most I'm prepared to bring the fight wherever I want to #ufcabudhabi pic.twitter.com/gGXisIgVWB— Nordine Taleb (@TNT83MMA) September 3, 2019
Tony Ferguson is the type of guy to cheer for a double KO when it would only force him, at 35, to sit on the sidelines even longer.
Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow.
Tony actually gets the next title shot, right?
This poll is closed
He has to.
LOL. Come on bruh, Conor’s gonna snake it.
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