Ferguson Eyes Fight With Nate Diaz
Tony Ferguson did not suffer a loss at UFC 209, but the frustration he suffered was far worse: the fight he’d been preparing for for much of his career, a showdown with Khabib Nurmagomedov, was cancelled at the last second due to Nurmagomedov’s weight cutting issues.
The interim lightweight title fight was scrapped, and Ferguson was left without a clear next step.
Over a week later, Ferguson is still mulling over his options. Appearing on the MMA Hour, the top lightweight contender said that he was not giving up on the fight with Nurmagomedov, but he mainly just wants to get back in the cage as soon as possible.
“I’m a professional, so I’m going to try and move on from this,” Ferguson said. “Trying to offer Khabib a chance to come back at it and see what his position is, but I don’t think he’s doing too good right now. So I’m not sure who’s next man. Been kind of throwing it around the bush and I’m ready, bro. My body doesn’t know anything different than to fight right now. So that’s what I would like to do. I’d like to fight real soon. Especially for the belt.”
As far as what other lightweights interest Ferguson, there was only one name that stuck out: Nate Diaz.
“I’m just throwing a name out there, but I think Nate Diaz and myself could actually put on a good show,” he told Ariel Helwani. “I think his ranking is kind of bullshit too, but I don’t really see anybody else. I mean, Edson Barboza called me out, but it is what it is. Everything’s in the air right now. I want to fight for the title. I want a fair fight, I want to go in there and kick this dude’s ass no matter who’s signed to the dotted line, and fucking move on. And kick Conor’s ass. I don’t know what he’s up to, but lets just go.
“Just because he’s a decent striker, I mean, I haven’t had a knockout in a long time,” he said. “Not trying to call out my shot for a knockout, but I think my boxing’s a little bit better than his. It is what it is, I think my stand-up is a lot better, but this is not a boxing match, it’s MMA. And I’m just starting to mix it up with some takedowns and cool stuff."
Whether Ferguson fights Diaz or the long-awaited fight with Khabib is rebooked, his primary goal is to become a UFC lightweight champion. While other fighters are asking for a chance to fight him, he does not want to take a backwards step. The ultimate prize is a unification bout with Conor McGregor, and Ferguson will need a high-profile fight to get him there.