Tony Ferguson returns to action this Saturday against Donald Cerrone at UFC 238, but before the fight he went on the offensive against the manager of UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, none other than Ali Abdelaziz.
In a pre-fight scrum with the media, Ferguson ripped the manager and criticized his persona on social media.
“That’s a Twitter warrior,” Ferguson said of Abdelaziz (audio transcribed by MMAFighting.com). “I get it. I have gif wars, he wants to go gif wars I’ll destroy him all day. But I mean it’s as easy and plain and simple as this, he’s not a fighter, he’s a manager.”
Tony Ferguson (24-3) is returning to the Octagon for the first time since last October at UFC 229 when he defeated Anthony Pettis via TKO in a Fight of the Year candidate. The Oxnard, California resident holds a 14-1 record in the UFC and is currently riding an 11-fight win streak into this fight against the surging Cerrone, who has won three straight fights himself. It’s likely he would have received a title shot already but he has dealt with numerous personal issues that have kept him outside the cage this year, which led to Dustin Poirier winning the interim lightweight belt over Max Holloway at UFC 236 and fighting Nurmagomedov instead.
It’s clear that Ferguson still wants this fight against Nurmagomedov, as the two have been scheduled to meet four times previously with the fight being scratched every time. That’s why this trash talk aimed at Abdelaziz is so brilliant, because Ferguson is trying to egg him on and plant sees for a future fight.
In fact, in the scrum Tony Ferguson continued to rip Abdelaziz, and even humorously compared him to those who illegally stream the UFC’s pay-per-views.
“He’s a disappointment to the fans, to my fans, and to the real fans, to the hardcore—I call my fans the hardcore base, that’s the crew,” Ferguson said. “So you hear all those guys saying, ‘champ sh*t only,’ that’s hardcore. Those are the real fans. Those guys pay the money for the pay-per-views. And the guys like Ali, those are guys that f*cking stream that sh*t.”
Should Ferguson defeat Cerrone this Saturday at UFC 238, there’s a good chance he’ll get to fight the winner of UFC 242’s Nurmagomedov vs. Poirier title fight, though Conor McGregor could always jump in line. But going after the manager of Nurmagomedov seems to be one way Ferguson is trying to get to the head of the pack.
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 6/6/2019.