Who Is Tony Ferguson Interested In Fighting Against?
Waiting for a chance to fight for gold, Tony Ferguson has had to fight for interim gold twice. When the second time wasn’t the charm for him, Ferguson realized he needed to step back and think about his fight future.
Now, “El Cucuy” is ready to climb back to the top of the mountain. This time, he plans on staying there.
Speaking with ESPN, Ferguson (25-4) discussed his most recent fight, a loss to Justin Gaethje at UFC 249 this past year. Ferguson lost via TKO in the fifth round after Gaethje landed over 100 significant strikes to the head and body of Ferguson. It was a moment of reflection for Ferguson, who lost a twelve-fight win streak. He also lost for the first time via knockout and suffered an orbital bone fracture.
“I listened to my boxing coach and I took some time off,” Ferguson stated, via MMA Fighting. “It was really good. I got to spend a lot of time with my family. I got to go to Big Bear and spend a lot of time with my boy, my pups, my wife, everybody and really think about what my future entitled and tried to put everything behind me.
“Because I really wasn’t happy with that fight. I enjoy getting hit but I can’t let that s**t happen again.”
Original plans had Khabib Nurmagomedov and Ferguson facing off at the original UFC 249 in Brooklyn back in April for the UFC Lightweight Title. Due to the coronavirus, Nurmagomedov ended up returning to Russia to quarantine, halting the bout once again. Gaethje would get the call and the win. As a result of the win, Gaethje became interim UFC Lightweight Champion and will now face Khabib in an undisputed title fight on October 24.
Ferguson is now ready to see what is next for him. Anxious and hungry, Ferguson would understand if he can’t sneak his way into a fight between either Khabib or Gaethje before they face off. He offered a plan to have him on the same card as them (UFC 254) to match up well for a future bout. If he were to win, he’d be back in. Who would he face?
“You want to give me Conor [McGregor], give me Conor,” Ferguson went on to say. “You want to give me [Dustin] Poirier, we’ll make it happen and then we’ll fight and then we’ll fight the winner of the Gaethje and Khabib fight.
“I would love to compete against Khabib, Poirier, McGregor. Those are the three right there. Why? Talent-wise, that’s why.”
Poirier (26-6, 1 NC) a former interim UFC Lightweight Champion, fought and lost to Khabib for the undisputed title at UFC 242. He rebounded with a win over Dan Hooker this past June in a slugfest. McGregor has also lost to Khabib, at UFC 229. He last fought in January, beating Donald Cerrone via TKO at UFC 246. It was his first win since 2016.
An issue with McGregor is that he once again retired from the sport. Perhaps a bout with Ferguson, where a win could lead him back to Khabib, could persuade him to return. Ferguson likes the matchups against two tough fighters. He is just waiting for his time to shine and is willing to do whatever it takes.
“They’re both decent fighters,” Ferguson went on to say. “They’re both good. We’re all elite in the top five for a reason. As far as fights go, if Conor wants to fight, I’m down for that. I’d love to fight a southpaw… When it comes down to fighting standup, you’ve got to remember when I fought Edson Barboza. It’s a lot different.
“This mix and matching kind of stuff, that if it does happen again, I’m cool, man. I’m already used to it. It doesn’t matter. Opponent switches, COVID, anything else wants to pop up, let’s go, we’re used to it now.”