Tony Ferguson has had a very interesting last few weeks. He was all set to fight for the UFC interim lightweight title against Khabib Nurmagomedov, a bout that would have given him the biggest payday of his career. Instead, Khabib was forced out the day before the fight, and Ferguson allegedly got paid less than half of the title fight show money he thought he was going to get.
He has tried to stay positive in the aftermath, but it appears that the UFC unable to re-book the Khabib fight or a bout between Ferguson and Eddie Alvarez for UFC 210. Instead, Ferguson has his eyes on a new opponent – Stockton’s own Nate Diaz.
As a guest on The MMA Hour today, Ferguson laid out his reasoning behind asking for a bout with Diaz – namely, he thinks he Diaz is a great test for him (via MMA Fighting):
“I’m just throwing a name out there, but I think Nate Diaz and myself could actually put on a good show. I think his ranking is kind of bulls—t too, but I don’t really see anybody else. I mean, Edson Barboza called me out, but it is what it is. Everything’s in the air right now. I want to fight for the title. I want a fair fight, I want to go in there and kick this dude’s ass no matter who’s signed to the dotted line, and f—king move on. And kick Conor’s ass. I don’t know what he’s up to, but lets just go.”
He also believes that he could knock Diaz out:
“Just because he’s a decent striker, I mean, I haven’t had a knockout in a long time,” he said. “Not trying to call out my shot for a knockout, but I think my boxing’s a little bit better than his. It is what it is, I think my stand-up is a lot better, but this is not a boxing match, it’s MMA. And I’m just starting to mix it up with some takedowns and cool stuff.
So why Nate? Well, Ferguson doesn’t see how fighting anyone else in the division does anything for him. He obviously would like to fight McGregor, and he’s not opposed to a Khabib rematch but he believes that Nurmagomedov still isn’t 100%, and with Ramadan coming up, he thinks the fight wouldn’t take place for a while. Then it came back to Diaz:
“Nate’s one of those dudes that I think honestly could challenge my talents right now. I mean, he’s a good fighter man. Black belt level jiu-jitsu, respect that. I’ll go as far as Eddie (Bravo)’s system goes and then my own system, I’m a black belt in my own system. This is something I’ve been doing for a long time. This is an Octagon, it’s not a mat.”
Ferguson laid down the challenge at the end of the interview:
“July’s fine, I like July. If we can do this sooner, that’d be dope,” he said. “But you name the place, you name the time, and I’ll be right there and I’ll knock the guy out.”
“Let’s go man, I want to go toe-to-toe,” he said. “Think you’re good, think you’re bad, think, you say ‘don’t be scared homie,’ I’m standing right here. Live what you say.”
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