2020 has been a difficult year for most fighters, but perhaps no fighter lost more professionally than Tony Ferguson.
At the beginning of the year, Ferguson was set to finally face longtime rival Khabib Nurmagomedov for the undisputed lightweight title. Then COVID-19 hit the world and Khabib was forced out of their planned fight. Instead, Ferguson opted to face Justin Gaethje for another interim title, but this time, things did not go his way and he was stopped in the fifth round. It was Ferguson’s first loss in eight years, and to make matters worse in the aftermath of Khabib’s retirement, the title picture for the vacant belt appears to be taking shape without including Ferguson.
In January, Conor McGregor will rematch Dustin Poirier in a bout that Dana White has explicitly stated will not be for the title but one that many are still speculating will be. On top of that, there are also rumors that a Justin Gaethje vs. former Bellator lightweight champion Michael Chandler fight is in the offing, with the winners of both bouts ultimately facing each other. Noticeably absent from that group of contenders is Ferguson, and the former interim champion is not happy about it.
“Where’s my title shot? Where’s all my stuff that’s supposed to be ‘owed’ to me?” Ferguson told Aaron Bronsteter (h/t TheBodyLock). “Nothing’s owed to you. You got to earn it. And I keep my earning my way to victory every single time. But nobody speaks up. You guys don’t speak up because you guys are getting paid by Conor. You guys are getting paid by Proper 12 and all that other bullsh*t.
“You guys got that f*cking facade over your face. You guys don’t want to speak up for me and be like, ‘yo, give Tony the f*cking title shot.’ You guys got umpteen amount of time to talk to Dana but you guys aren’t speaking up for me. You guys are watching me get f*cked over left and right by my old management companies. Nobody’s saying sh*t right but yet here I am saving the f*cking day (at UFC 249) and making sure everyone’s got entertainment in the world and then taking heat afterwards saying, ‘why didn’t you win?’”
The reality is, Ferguson’s grievances are less the result of media narratives and more the result of Dana White. For most of this year, White has steadfastly insisted that Conor McGregor would rematch Khabib after Khabib’s title defense. Then, White signed Michael Chandler and, when the UFC was unable to come to terms on a Chandler-Ferguson bout for UFC 254, they elevated Chandler to serve as back-up for the Khabib-Gaethje fight. Given that, plus the current rankings, which now have Ferguson at third behind Gaethje and Dustin Poirier, have left him out in the cold. But Ferguson sees it as fixating by the media on money-making narratives instead of the fighters that deserve it.
“I would just say stop kissing so much ass,” Ferguson said. “Saying Conor’s name. I’m going to be real — the guy hasn’t competed in how long? You’re saying there’s not a household name (in these cards) because the name that’s in your guys’ mouth (is Conor). You guys aren’t putting the other names out there. You’re not giving a chance for these other athletes like myself or Charles Oliveira. You guys are putting in people like (Michael) Chandler who did what for the UFC? Now he’s got a top three position. Get the f*ck out of here.”
This weekend, Ferguson gets the opportunity to reinsert himself in the title conversation when he takes on seventh-ranked Charles Oliveira in the co-main event of UFC 256. A win could propel him into a fight with one of the aforementioned contenders, or, if Khabib ends up not retiring, possibly even that long-elusive title shot.
Big. Judge moves forward with UFC class-action lawsuit, adding fighters from 2010-2017.
Goals. Justin Gaethje targeting lightweight title fight against winner of Poirier-McGregor 2.
Out. Charles Oliveira’s head coach unable to corner him at UFC 256 after testing positive for COVID-19.
What the Heck.
UFC 256 virtual media day.
Bellator 254 highlights.
Every ONE Championship heavyweight KO.
Dana on Kellerman’s show.
SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE
This will never end.
No Chin have a good point here https://t.co/LLN0LObarj— Petr “No Mercy” Yan (@PetrYanUFC) December 10, 2020
And when will you defend yours??? We are all waiting. https://t.co/6iEOd2YszE— Cody Garbrandt (@Cody_Nolove) December 10, 2020
Just like we are all waiting for your title shot in division below https://t.co/luJukyqZLU— Petr “No Mercy” Yan (@PetrYanUFC) December 10, 2020
Don’t get your hopes too high triple clown! Can’t wait when you will have balls to come back to give you reality check twitter warrior! Until then stay irrelevant https://t.co/avBJjGJcYG— Petr “No Mercy” Yan (@PetrYanUFC) December 10, 2020
Your last 2 wins were vs Aldo and Faber. You might as well just fought Alzheimers. https://t.co/C1GC2DDv80— Henry Cejudo (@HenryCejudo) December 10, 2020
Guys, good luck in the “Battle of the Sidechicks” ....Just keep my belt warm for me and don’t pawn it. Merry Christmas https://t.co/gwaV7zrhlA— Henry Cejudo (@HenryCejudo) December 11, 2020
Don’t worry Henry, I’ll call you out AGAIN, after I finish Yan. Honestly, I really don’t think you could survive one round with me. It’s safer for your health to do all your fighting on Twitter. https://t.co/f49WJlPPoZ— Aljamain Sterling (@funkmasterMMA) December 11, 2020
While I must admit, you’ve come a long way since being in B2K...after I knock you out you’ll have a Bump Bump Bump https://t.co/Z1Gevtk4bc— Henry Cejudo (@HenryCejudo) December 11, 2020
“ Nice one... I can’t believe your chin held up while posting this” https://t.co/2W0mMItsME— Henry Cejudo (@HenryCejudo) December 10, 2020
Lol that’s all you can say, you call all these fighters out to stay relevant. Now you are even calling YouTubers out, you do not wish to fight. Long live the coward. https://t.co/yK9UMxFoav— Cody Garbrandt (@Cody_Nolove) December 10, 2020
I love that you are reaching this hard , mis well reach a little farther around deez nuts!! I gave you the date and you pick the weight. Waiting for that https://t.co/DZ8mot6DvV— Cody Garbrandt (@Cody_Nolove) December 10, 2020
Jon is so bad at the internet. This is the exact thing you don’t say so everyone is more impressed by you moving up.
Reacting to Anthony Johnson’s Bellator signing.
Mikuru Asakura (13-2, 1 NC) vs. Satoshi Yamasu (11-5); Rizin 26, Dec. 31.
Kleber Koike (25-5-1) vs. Kyle Aguon (13-9); Rizin 26, Dec. 31.
Kazuma Kuramoto (7-1) vs. Taiyo Nakahara (15-8); Rizin 26, Dec. 31.
Thanks for reading, enjoy the fights, and see y’all on Monday.
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