If things had gone Tony Ferguson’s way, he would have fought – and with a little luck, defeated – Khabib Nurmagomedov to win the UFC interim lightweight title at March’s UFC 209. Regrettably, Nurmagomedov was forced out of this contest on the eve of battle, and Ferguson was deprived of his shot at interim gold.
Since then, the streaking lightweight contender has been campaigning for a bout with fan favorite Nate Diaz. Unfortunately, Diaz has been very difficult for him to lock down.
In a recent interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal, which can be viewed in full at the top of this post, Ferguson discusses this potential scrap with Diaz, and tells the Stockton, California-based fighter to accept the fight or retire.
“I’m down for the battle of California [with Nate Diaz,]” he said. “He wants to represent [area code] 209, I’m from 805 in the Oxnard area. I think obviously my hands are a lot better. I think this game is about the glory, not all about the money. Obviously you have to make your peace in this industry, but sh*t Nate, if you don’t want to fight man, move on, retire. Go do something else man, cause we’re here to fight in this industry. But everyone else is taken, so yeah, Nate would be the next one up.”
Ferguson also commented on undisputed lightweight champion Conor McGregor, who is currently flirting with a boxing match with Floyd Mayweather. In Ferguson’s opinion, the UFC will have to implement an interim lightweight title to keep the division moving in the Irishman’s stead.
“If Conor doesn’t step up, they’ll make an interim belt,” he said. “I think they’ll make an interim belt either way. I just think interim is a word that they throw around a lot, and it’s going to be thrown my way. I don’t think anything else is going to change right now. Conor is obviously the favorite at my weight class, but I don’t play favorites. I knock ’em all out. I finish them, D’Arce or knockout, so it doesn’t matter man.”
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This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 4/11/2017.