Ferguson: McGregor Is A “Paper Champ”
Top lightweight contender Tony Ferguson is apparently unimpressed with his division’s new champion. Dismissing Conor McGregor, Ferguson says he has his eye on settling a score with fellow contender Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Ferguson was set to fight Nurmagomedov a year ago, but the fight was scrapped due to the Russian sustaining a rib injury. Then the two were rescheduled to face in April of this year, but Ferguson withdrew from the bout with a medical issue. Since then, both Ferguson and Nurmagomedov have notched impressive victories over Rafael Dos Anjos and Michael Johnson, respectively.
Now, with McGregor taking time away from the sport for some of 2017, Ferguson believes it is time to make the fight between he and Khabib again. That would be a fight between the real two best lightweights, according to Ferguson, as he does not see McGregor as the true champion.
"This guy’s picking his opponents," Ferguson told Submission Radio. "He’s a paper champ. When you’re doing that, of course you’re going to be watching who you’re fighting…I can’t really see Conor as the champion. I see right now as if the title was open. Conor’s taking a step off and I don’t even like to throw his name in because the dude fought one person at 155. I’ve been sitting here and Khabib, he’s been kind of inactive. I’ve been the most active in this damn place… I’m racking up points here, that’s all that matters. I’m gonna go down in the books as a living legend. That’s what’s gonna happen, I’m gonna be in the UFC Hall of Fame."
McGregor took the lightweight belt from Eddie Alvarez in impressive fashion at UFC 205, the same night Nurmagomedov defeated Johnson and called the Irishman out. A week before, Ferguson beat former champ Rafael Dos Anjos, but appeared uninterested in making a scene to garner interest in the McGregor money fight.
While the division waits for McGregor to return, Ferguson has no issue taking on the undefeated Russian. But there is one condition: he wants a title up for grabs.
"I’m ready to sign on the dotted line and I think the UFC knows that. And I think it needs to be for that belt. I don’t think, it needs to be for that belt, damn it. Straight up, I’ve been putting in my time, I’ve been putting in my numbers. This is my time. Let’s get some heat going for this thing. Let’s do this for The Ultimate Fighter. We can do Team Khabib versus Team Ferguson, that’d be dope.
"Let’s just throw it up for an interim belt. If he’s gonna take a step out for a while then they need to throw an interim belt out there, have a champ out there and when he comes back he can be ready for that ass whooping which will be me."