Tony Ferguson explains why he shouldn’t be stripped of interim lightweight title

Tony Ferguson

Having been forced out of the UFC 223 main event with a freakish leg injury, it now sounds as though the UFC will strip Tony Ferguson of the interim lightweight title he’s owned since October. Khabib Nurmagomedov and Max Holloway, meanwhile, will battle for the undisputed title in the new UFC 223 main event.

While UFC President Dana White has suggested this is the way things will shake out, Ferguson believes he should be allowed to hang onto his interim title just as former interim middleweight champion Robert Whittaker was when Michael Bisping and Georges St-Pierre fought for the undisputed title in November.

“I haven’t spoken with the UFC yet about what’s next,” Ferguson said on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour (h/t MMAFighting). “So when I saw what was in [Dana White’s ESPN] interview, it shocked me, man, it hurt me even more. It was something I couldn’t control with this injury. This all started snowballing this weekend, man. Of all weekends. The UFC hasn’t said anything to me about my title going away, and I don’t think it will go away.”

“You shouldn’t strip a champion due to a freak injury that happened during a UFC-obligated media event,” Ferguson said.

Ferguson then gave a bit more insight on the injury that sidelined him.

“It was just a matter of, I slipped, man,” Ferguson said. “I heard it pop. Once we got back to the car after FOX interviewed us, I turned to wife to tell her what happened, and she was concerned. I had a couple of my team members, and UFC staff with me. Afterwards I went home and did a pool workout and I felt tension and danger in my workout. I woke up on Friday with some pain and I still tried to push through it. You guys know me, I’m tough. I tried to train later that evening after taking a day of rest but my knee locked up.”

“I woke up Saturday with even more pain, but I tried to push through it and train again,” Ferguson said. “But it locked up on me, my knee was giving out a few times, and slowly it dawned on me, I knew something was f*cked up and more serious.”

Tony Ferguson concluded:

“I mean seriously, there is a precedent for having a fight for a real title [fight] and keeping an interim title intact,” Ferguson said. “They just did that with Robert Whittaker last year.”

“I just hope they do the right thing.”

Do you think Tony Ferguson should be allowed to hang onto the interim lightweight title after UFC 223, given the circumstances of his injury?

This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 4/3/2018.