Even before Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor boxed, Nate Diaz was the clear choice for the champ champ’s UFC return. Slowly, as Diaz haunts the division out of sight, the front-runner became Tony Ferguson. Dan Hardy has said Tony Ferguson is the fight, Eddie Bravo wants his protege to have the shot, even Dillon Danis wants McGregor to fight T-Ferg. None of their opinions though, mean quite as much as this one. Both Conor McGregor and Tony Ferguson’s manager Audie Attar says their fight will definitely happen, he just didn’t reveal if it’s next or not.
“The sport is one where they’re going to compete. If you have clients in the same weight class, and they’re the top of the division, they’re going to meet. With Tony [Ferguson] and Conor [McGregor], it’s inevitable. You have the lightweight champ and the interim lightweight champ, so that’s a fight that’s naturally going to happen. I can’t say [who McGregor will fight next]. Here’s what I will tell you: Tony earned a shot at the belt. He won the interim lightweight title.”
— Tony Ferguson (@TonyFergusonXT) October 31, 2017
“Conor [McGregor] doesn’t shy away from a challenge. The Nate [Diaz] fight does make sense, obviously, because of the trilogy. They never fought at 155, but they both make sense in their own respective way. However, I do believe that when [McGregor and Ferguson] go at it, it will, in my opinion, validate the belt system. It will validate what a championship belt is all about.” – Audie Attar on Michael Bisping’s Believe You Me podcast.
That’s the closest we’ve got so far to confirming Tony Ferguson will get his red panty night with Conor McGregor next. Attar also continues the narrative started by McGregor himself back during his Glasgow appearance: Legitimizing the UFC title again. This is something Dana White has also echoed in interviews. Will the UFC start arriving at a homeostasis of huge superfights, while also maintaining a proper pecking order in the rankings? We’ll have to wait and see.