Tony Ferguson believes he is the UFC’s undisputed lightweight champion.
In the main event of UFC 249, Ferguson will take on Justin Gaethje for the promotions interim lightweight title, this after reigning champion Khabib Nurmagomedov was stuck in Russia. So, “El Cucuy,” said the Russian should be stripped of his belt.
Now, he’s taken it a step further as he sent a message to Nurmagomedov. He also declared this his third title defense.
Ferguson: F*ck Khabib. I'm defending my belt for the third time, this is for the real belt. Champ s*it only #UFC249
— MMAFighting.com (@MMAFighting) May 5, 2020
“F**k Khabib. I’m defending my belt for the third time, this is for the real belt. Champ s**t only,” Tony Ferguson said on the UFC 249 conference call with media on Tuesday.
Tony Ferguson, of course, won the interim lightweight title back at UFC 216 when he submitted Kevin Lee. He was then stripped of the interim belt after suffering a torn ACL just before he was scheduled to face Nurmagomedov at UFC 223.
Since the win over Lee, Ferguson beat Anthony Pettis and Donald Cerrone, both by TKO, which he says are title defenses. El Cucuy has been the number one contender at lightweight for years now. He will get the chance to become a two-time interim champ on Saturday.
Justin Gaethje, meanwhile, is entering this fight riding a three-fight winning streak with all three wins coming by first-round knockout. He beat James Vick, Edson Barboza, and most recently Cerrone to put him in a position to fight for the belt.
This is no doubt a phenomenal fight where Dana White has said the winner will fight Nurmagomedov in the fall. Yet, the UFC boss recently said he doesn’t have much confidence Ferguson vs. Nurmagomedov happens in 2020, so maybe he believes this scrap is cursed.
What do you make of Tony Ferguson claiming his UFC 249 fight against Justin Gaethje will be his third title defense? Sound off in the comment section, PENN Nation!
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 5/5/2020.