Tony Ferguson opens up on being stripped of interim title, still considers himself the champ

Tony Ferguson

In October of 2017, Tony Ferguson captured the interim lightweight title with a submission defeat of Kevin Lee. In April of 2018, he was scheduled to fight top contender Khabib Nurmagomedov in a bout that would crown the winner the undisputed lightweight champion.

Unfortunately, Tony Ferguson was forced out of this fight with a freak injury. Khabib Nurmagomedov wound up defeating short-notice replacement opponent Al Iaquinta to win the undisputed title, while Ferguson was quietly stripped of his interim title.

As you can probably imagine, Ferguson was not happy about this turn of events. All the same, he still considers himself a champion — which is why he’s been toting around his UFC belt throughout UFC 229 fight week, ahead of his fight with Anthony Pettis.

“I’m the f*cking champ,” Tony Ferguson said (via MMA Fighting). “See this gold right here. I didn’t lose my belt. They took it from me. The one thing they didn’t take is my smile. So after my surgery, I made a conscious decision to not want anybody else’s help that didn’t want to help me. So yeah, I’ve got a little chip on my shoulder. It’s still there. It f*cking weighs a lot. But in this whole entire process, I gained so much more than you guys would ever imagine.”

The good news for Tony Ferguson is that, while it’s unlikely many members of the MMA community still consider him the true lightweight champion, he’s could have the chance to earn that title if he beats Pettis this weekend. Apparently, it’s written into his contract that he will get the next crack at the winner of Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor’s UFC 229 title fight if he defeat Pettis on the card.

“It’s in my contract,” Ferguson said. “So all these mother fuckers out there on TMZ saying they’re next. Nah, I’m next. But I’m the first. And I’m the last, too.”

Do you think Tony Ferguson will wear the undisputed UFC lightweight belt in the future?

This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 10/3/2018.