Tony Ferguson did it. He marched through a long hard road out of hell and shined in the moment he needed it most. After submitting Kevin Lee to become the interim UFC lightweight champion, he did what anyone would do: Call out Conor McGregor. After all, he’s the real champion, he’s never defended a belt, and it’s the biggest fight to make at lightweight besides Nate Diaz. McGregor’s coach recently weighed in on the match-up and he doesn’t like Ferguson’s chances after the two wars with another durable, rangy fighter who’s slick on the mat.
“[Tony Ferguson]’s good, obviously. He wouldn’t be the interim champion if he wasn’t good. His style is, you know, it’s not traditional, it’s a bit unorthodox and stuff, but I just honestly think that Conor [McGregor]’s going to be way too clean for Ferguson. If Ferguson tries to stand with Conor for an extended period of time it will be lights out, in my opinion. You know, he’s tough as well, he’s tough and durable, so he may take a couple of smacks, but at the end of the day Conor’s going to be way too clean and too technical to… he won’t get touched. That’s my opinion. But yeah, it will be an interesting one and it will be an exciting fight as well because Ferguson does come to fight and he’s aggressive, he goes in, he looks to finish fights, so it will be exciting. But yeah, without a doubt if he wants to stand and bang with Conor it’ll be lights out fairly quick, I think.”
— Tony Ferguson (@TonyFergusonXT) October 10, 2017
“Well, I think because we came through those two [Nate] Diaz fights we’d be a bit more capable of dealing with the tall, rangy guy. I think the one unique thing that Diaz has is just that unbelievable chin, and like, I don’t think Ferguson would be able to take the shots that Diaz took. Do you know what I mean? I think he would be asleep or the ref would have stepped in and have stopped the fight if Conor lands. Where Diaz, like, Conor was landing all the shots on Diaz as well and all the other stuff that we came up with worked against Diaz, it’s just he kept coming and coming and coming and coming. I don’t think Ferguson is as durable as Diaz, so I think we’ll be well able to land the shots. You know, there’s plenty of holes in there in Ferguson’s game and I think we can capitalise and land any shots that we need to land.” – Coach Owen Roddy speaking to Submission Radio.
Now, the waiting game begins. The Nate Diaz fight for Conor McGregor will always be there, but Tony Ferguson is here and now. If McGregor can come back and defeat Ferguson, he’ll silence his critics about him never defending titles and become king of the UFC again. If Tony Ferguson wins though, he instantly becomes a giant star. It seems like a fight that is a no-brainer and should be booked immediately, but this is McGregor we’re talking about. He can fight anyone from the winner of Justin Gaethje and Eddie Alvarez’s fight, Georges St-Pierre or even Paul Malignaggi.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 10/10/2017.