Tony Ferguson may finally get his shot at the undisputed lightweight championship so long as he’s prepared to accept a fight against the winner of the UFC 242 main event between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Dustin Poirier.
“El Cucuy” has been here before with a title shot within reach only to have mitigating circumstances prevent him from competing for UFC gold.
Ahead of the fight this weekend, both Nurmagomedov and Poirier said flat out that Ferguson was the only contender who deserved a shot at the title next after he’s rattled off 12 straight wins in the division.
Now UFC president Dana White has chimed in by confirming Ferguson will get the next shot at the belt — under one condition.
“Listen, again, if Tony Ferguson’s ready,” White told ESPN when asked if the former ‘Ultimate Fighter’ winner will get the next title shot. “Tony Ferguson’s been offered opportunities before that he hasn’t taken. If Tony’s ready then yeah [he’s next].”
The opportunity that White mentioned likely stems from an offer made to him earlier this year to face featherweight king Max Holloway in a fight to determine an interim lightweight champion while Nurmagomedov was sidelined due to a suspension.
At the time, Ferguson was dealing with issues in his personal life but perhaps more importantly, he had already been an interim champion previously only to have his belt stripped away when he suffered a knee injury while promoting his scheduled bout against Nurmagomedov in 2018.
Rather than allowing Ferguson to keep his belt until he returned, the UFC stripped the title and declared Nurmagomedov the undisputed champion after he defeated late notice replacement Al Iaquinta.
That obviously bothered Ferguson, who has since tacked on two more victories to his incredible win streak with stoppages against both Anthony Pettis and Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone.
Of course one other factor that has to come into play is the possibility that former two-division champion Conor McGregor inserts himself into the title picture after calling for a rematch against Nurmagomedov following a fourth-round submission loss to him last October.
According to White, he’s stayed in constant contact with the Irish superstar but as of right now there’s no exact timeline for his next fight and McGregor won’t be making an appearance at UFC 242 in an attempt to stake his claim to the next title shot.
“He will not be here but he’ll be watching,” White said. “It’s all going to depend on his hand and how fast it recovers [to determine his return date].”