Tony Ferguson on Khabib: We’ll fight “before he retires”
It’s the most cursed fight in UFC history, yet former interim lightweight champion Tony Ferguson swears the world will see him fight Russian lightweight champion and martial arts Khabib Nurmagomedov one day before he retires from the sport, said Ferguson on Khabib.
However, Tony Ferguson (25-4) was supposed to challenge Nurmagomedov (28-0) for the 155-pound championship in April back then, but the most sought-after event was cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic across-the-globe. The forced suspension of the match between these two, that marked the fifth time in five years that a matchup between the two fell through because of various circumstances looming over. Ferguson ultimately lost to Justin Gaethje by fifth-round TKO in May, and Gaethje is set to face Nurmagomedov this weekend at UFC 254.
Last week, Khabib Nurmagomedov told ESPN that he doesn’t believe Ferguson, 36, will ever be the same after the damage he endured in his loss to Gaethje, in May. Ferguson on Khabib, responding to the comments made by Khabib by guaranteeing that the two will still fight.
Tony Ferguson on Khabib
“I see the fear in his voice if he thinks he has to talk bad about people,” Ferguson on Khabib. “He can’t put that s— in my head. I will fight Khabib at one point or another. He will see me before he retires. We’ll make that a point,” Ferguson said.
“I think everybody is writing me off after one loss, and f— them. The casual fan base is trying to, but my hard-core fans are too much. They know too much. My value is way too much,” Tony Ferguson on Khabib’s fan base.
In the meantime, Ferguson, of Oxnard, California, says he is training hard and thus, consistently and keeping his weight down in anticipation of a fight in December. He confirmed that former Bellator MMA champion Michael Chandler appears to be whom UFC president Dana White “wants me to fight,” but Ferguson said he wants the UFC to renegotiate his contract.
Ferguson strongly said that Chandler (21-5), who has never fought in the match-up of UFC, would make more than him if they fought, based on their current contracts. When asked how he knows what Chandler’s pay would be from UFC, Ferguson responded in, “I don’t know, but it sounds interesting, right?”
Gaethje is a ‘company man’
Ferguson also believes he was a “company man” in May when he agreed to face Gaethje in a match-up in the man event of UFC 249, the first event held after the UFC was forced to cancel five events because of the spread of COVID-19. That decision, and the result of the fight, heavy cost Ferguson a title shot in 2020.
“Michael Chandler hasn’t earned his way to the top,” Ferguson said. “But if that’s who Dana White wants me to fight, you know me: I put my boots on, and I go to work. When it came to COVID, I made weight, and I went to work. There was a point, 72 hours, it was myself, Dana, [UFC matchmaker] Sean Shelby and my wife, just trying to make that s— happen. If I hadn’t taken that fight, how many people would not have gotten paid?”
“Do I want to fight? Yes. I want to fight in December. I’m f—ing training. Let’s go. But I don’t think somebody who doesn’t even belong here should be paid more than me. That’s what I’m saying.”
Ferguson is optimistic that he will fight in December
Ferguson intensively emphasized that he and White are in a healthy place, adding that the two exchanged text messages on Tuesday. Ferguson said he is optimistic that he will fight in December – against Chandler or someone else.
“I learned a lot about myself in that fight,” Ferguson said. “I learned I’m not going to put myself in that position again, to take damage like that. I wanted to see how tough I was, and now I’ve found out. That scares people to do that, so I’ve learned how to work much better and more efficiently.”