Monday, October 08, 2018

Tony Ferguson may be the most interesting man in mixed martial arts. 

He's won eleven fights in a row, winning eight performance bonuses in the process. He has a colorful, cursed relationship with current lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov - four times the pair has seen fights canceled. He was the UFC interim lightweight champ, but lost it due to a freak injury, and was replaced by Max Holloway who couldn't make weight on short notice even moving up a division, and was in turn replaced by Al Iaquinta who lost to 'The Eagle.'

Nurmagomedov defended the title in spectacular fashion vs. Conor McGregor in the main event of UFC 229 on Saturday night, but the celebration was ruined when 'The Eagle' jumped over the fence and attacked a member of McGregor's entourage which led to a melee. Ferguson defeated Anthony Pettis in the co-main, and at the post-fight press conference, he shared his thoughts.

“I’m the f*cking champ. You guys realize that, right?,” asked Ferguson, as transcribed by Alexander K. Lee for MMA Fighting. “I’ve been the champ. I am the champ. You have these two knuckleheads over there making this sport look bad. … I don’t have a belt up here, I don’t need to have a belt up here to be the champ. So if you guys want to feed that, go ahead, put that in your pocket and take it with you.

“But what I’m doing here is cleaning up the sport. This is an Olympic-level type of sport and it needs to be cleaned up. I’ve been training like an Olympian. I’ve took so many different things out of my life that I didn’t need anymore and I just felt lifted. So awesome. Such a great feeling.”

“When this stuff happens in different sports, it puts a bad taste in it. But we’re trying to clean it up and we’re trying to clean it up as much as possible. That’s not for me anymore, I don’t have to get all crazy on it.

“If there’s another fighter in front of me, which I hope is Khabib or Conor — I even call him Conor, I’ll give him that respect — I don’t have to call them ‘tiramisu’ or ‘McNuggets’ because I have all the sauce, and I’m very sweet.”

“Khabib and I deserve to fight. We need to fight for the fifth time, we need to try this out again. He is the champ, I was the interim champ. I’m still the f***ing champ. There’s no BS in this.

“Conor does not want to fight me. I saw him when we were walking out to the weigh-ins. He walked up, he did his strut, I turned around and he f***ing stopped. He looked like a deer in headlights. Nobody wants to be trapped inside that cage with me. They don’t want to get killed by my elbows. They don’t want to get hit by any of my kicks and they don’t want to get their conditioning checked by me. I’m a different animal than these guys. They want to be animals inside there, I’m a dogcatcher guys. I got a noose for them.”

One possibility is that Nurmagomedov is suspended for over six months and the UFC strips him. Then Conor McGregor fights Ferguson for the title. And Nurmagomedov challenges for it when he returns. The one thing Ferguson does not want to see is an immediate rematch between The Eagle and Notorious.

“Rematch? The dude got finished,” said Ferguson. “Dude got straight up finished. If you got finished, you need to move the f*** on.”