Tony Ferguson: F@$% your Islam Makhachev ‘bribe’
Tony Ferguson had one of the great runs in MMA lightweight history, winning twelve in a row, earning eight performance bonuses for his last eight wins, and for a time picking up the interim belt. Simultaneously, undefeated UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov is having the best run in lightweight history. Fights between the two were snakebit like Ragnar Lothbrok, having been canceled on five occasions.
Then at UFC 249 “El Cucuy” lost, badly, to Justin Gaethje, who fights “The Eagle” at UFC 254 on October 24. Dominance MMA founder Ali Abdelaziz manages the careers of Nurmagomedov, Geathje, and about everyone else at the top of the sport, including Islam Makhachev, who is on a six-fight win streak. The manager wants Ferguson to fight Makhachev.
It seems a little improbable considering that this is the UFC’s top 15 contenders:
1. Justin Gaethje
2. Dustin Poirier
3. Tony Ferguson
4. Dan Hooker
5. Conor McGregor
6. Charles Oliveira
7. Paul Felder
8. Diego Ferreira
9. Al Iaquinta
10. Kevin Lee
11. Beneil Dariush
12. Islam Makhachev
13 . Gregor Gillespie
14. Drew Dober
15. Donald Cerrone
Abdelaziz sweetened the pot, offering TFerg an additional 100/100.
And Abdelazziz set Nurmagomedov to make the case for his fellow Dagestani fighting Ferguson, who is now 36.
“Nobody can be the same for a long time — one day, somebody gonna beat you, something gonna happen, God doesn’t give nobody the power, reaction, mental, one level, always,” said Nurmagomedov to ESPN staff writer Brett Okamoto. “One day you’re going to go down and his day come. It was May. Tony Ferguson is finished now. He’s gonna come back, and someone gonna beat him again, I believe. Because when you take damage like this, you’ll never going to be the same. Never. Even if you’re Tony Ferguson.”
“Right now, [Ferguson] have choice. He can come to Fight Island and fight Islam. Islam have six-fight win streak, he is almost in the Top 10. Why not? Why he don’t want to take this fight? UFC is going to give him good money. Ali is going to give him $100,000 and $100,000. After this, maybe he can fight for the title if he win. But I think his time is finished.”
Tony Ferguson was not impressed.
So that’s not happening. UG, who should Ferguson fight next?