Posts Tagged ‘Tony Ferguson’

Tony Ferguson got a lot off his chest ahead of his first UFC fight in almost a year.

The lightweight contender, who returns to action against Michael Chandler at UFC 274 on Saturday in Phoenix, said he believes fighters in the promotion are underpaid.

Ferguson also blasted UFC president Dana White for not allowing him to compete in boxing – or other professional sports – while under contract with the UFC.

“Dana said something the other day … talking about how boxers are overpaid,” Ferguson told reporters Wednesday, per MMA Fighting. “I asked Dana to box. He said, ‘Fuck no.’ I’m like, ‘Why?’

“I wanted to go play baseball. I wanted to go do other sports. I’m an athlete. … But then I have this guy right here acting like a fucking drug dealer telling me I can’t go and do this shit. I want to go make more money for my family.”

Regarding his frustration with the UFC, “El Cucuy” said he’s not alone.

“A lot of fighters have been keeping their mouths shut for a long time,” Ferguson said. “You should ask some of the other fighters that have been fucking treated like shit for a long time, too. Because I’m not the only one thinking it or fucking saying it or seeing it.”

Ferguson, a former interim champion, will look to snap his three-fight losing streak against Chandler.

Saturday’s event features a lightweight title fight between Charles Oliveira and Justin Gaethje.

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Justin Gaethje is the new UFC interim lightweight champion.

“The Highlight” stopped Tony Ferguson via TKO at 3:39 of the fifth round in the UFC 249 main event on Saturday night in Jacksonville.

Gaethje put on a masterclass performance over the course of five rounds. He picked “El Cucuy” apart with his bullet of a left hook, fierce leg kicks, and several other weapons.

Ferguson, whose 12-fight winning streak came to an end, did have his moments in the contest. He stunned Gaethje with an uppercut at the end of the second round, but the 36-year-old didn’t have time to attempt to put the fight away.

Gaethje stayed calm and composed throughout, consistently attacking Ferguson at the right openings. By the championship rounds, the 31-year-old was dominating the matchup. Gaethje did the most damage in the final frame, turning his opponent’s face into mush.

Referee Herb Dean’s halt to the bout was more of a mercy stoppage for Ferguson, who was simply trying to survive at the end of the fifth round. Gaethje landed a few shots that sealed the deal and crowned him the interim 155-pound champ.

With the victory, Gaethje is expected to fight lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov later in 2020.

“I’ve been working since I was four for challenges like this,” Gaethje said in his postfight interview. “I’m happy to represent the United States of America against Dagestan, Russia’s best. He’s 28-0, and there’s no other challenge I want right now. I want to fight him.”

Ferguson hadn’t lost since 2012 prior to the fight.

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Tony Ferguson believes two of the best lightweights on the planet, Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor, should walk away from the sport.

“I’m gonna be real. (Nurmagomedov) and McNuggets, they both need to f—— retire,” Ferguson said during a UFC 249 conference call Tuesday, according to MMA H.E.A.T. “The only two real men out there right now are gonna be me and Justin Gaethje. America, motherf—–s.”

Ferguson is scheduled to fight Gaethje for the interim lightweight title in the UFC 249 main event Saturday in Jacksonville. “El Cucuy” was originally slated to fight Nurmagomedov, the current 155-pound champion, but the Russian was forced out of the contest due to travel restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic. That April 18 event was later postponed.

After Nurmagomedov withdrew from the fight – the fifth time Nurmagomedov-Ferguson has been canceled since 2015 – Ferguson called for the UFC to strip him of his belt. On Monday, the 36-year-old declared his bout against Gaethje is for the “real championship.”

“F— Khabib. I’m defending my belt for the third time,” said Ferguson, who held the interim lightweight title from October 2017 to April 2018. “This is for the real belt.”

Ferguson and McGregor have never been scheduled to fight each other, though the bout made sense a few years ago; McGregor was the lightweight champion when Ferguson won the interim strap.

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Tony Ferguson says he was excited when he got the call to fight Khabib Nurmagomedov, but negotiations didn’t quite play out like he thought they would.

“The manner that they did it really, to me, wasn’t the way I would’ve wanted it to go, so it made the week kind of unpleasant,” Ferguson, who will challenge Nurmagomedov for the UFC lightweight title April 18, said Monday on “Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show.”

Ferguson added: “It was about as smooth as a bumpy road, but we got to our destination, which was pretty cool.”

The No. 1 lightweight said his management informed him last Monday that the UFC planned to send over a bout agreement, but there was no prior indication that the fight was going to happen. Not long after, UFC president Dana White announced the fight was being targeted for the April pay-per-view card. That same day, Nurmagomedov’s team released a photo of a signed bout agreement.

Ferguson went to Las Vegas to meet with UFC brass last Friday. That’s when the deal got done, he said.

“It’s about time we actually started having conversations and me being a little more personable with the company,” Ferguson said. “It went good. I can’t say that it went bad. It just took a little bit of time and a process. I’m lucky I had my agents with me fighting for my back.”

Ferguson is riding a 12-fight winning streak. The 35-year-old has been scheduled to face Nurmagomedov four times before, dating back to 2015.

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The UFC is aiming to have the lightweight title bout between champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson serve as the main event of an April 18 pay-per-view at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, UFC president Dana White told ESPN’s Brett Okamoto.

Contracts have yet to be signed, but both sides have expressed interest in what is arguably the most anticipated fight of the year, pending further negotiations, sources told ESPN.

Nurmagomedov and Ferguson have previously been scheduled to face off on four separate occasions, but all four bouts were canceled after both fighters dropped out twice for varying reasons.

Nurmagomedov most recently defeated then-interim titleholder Dustin Poirier via third-round submission in September. The 155-pound king boasts a 28-0 record, while his potential opponent is riding a 12-fight winning streak inside the Octagon.

Ferguson, who’s also previously owned the interim lightweight belt, is coming off a second-round TKO against Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone in June.

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If you ask UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov about his future, he has an idea of what he wants to have happen but doesn’t know for sure. It depends on what the Nevada State Athletic Commission has to say.

“Honestly, I don’t know nothing about my comeback. We have to wait,” Nurmagomedov said during an interview with Submission Radio. “… Maybe they gonna give me nine months or one year. I don’t know.”

Both Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor were granted continuances as they wait to receive punishment for their roles in the melee following their UFC 229 headliner, which Nurmagomedov won by submission. For the champion, his hearing is set for Jan. 29. Assuming the NSAC makes its decision, then Nurmagomedov will have a better idea about his future.

Speaking of which, he’d like everyone to understand something very important: Nobody in his inner-circle can agree on what should be next.

“I have a big team – you know, my father, Javier Mendez, my management. And everybody thinks a little bit different,” Nurmagomedov said. “If you talk about it, my father thinks different, Javier thinks different, my management thinks different.”

Why is this important to remember? Because ultimately what Nurmagomedov (27-0 MMA, 11-0 UFC) wants is what matters most. And as he made clear, he and his team collectively will make a decision on what he’ll do after his hearing next week.

So, for instance, when coach Mendez says he wants an immediate rematch with McGregor (21-4 MMA, 9-2 UFC), as he did last week, consider the champ’s stance.

“Right now, if you guys ask me, of course (McGregor) no deserve title shot,” Nurmagomedov said. “He lose. He tapped. It wasn’t a close fight. I dominated him everywhere in every aspect. I beat him. Like I told, I smashed him. Why we need rematch?”

So if not a rematch with McGregor, then what? Nurmagomedov has three specific names in mind to potentially close out his career.

“I don’t know right now, but why not maybe (Georges) St.-Pierre, (Tony) Ferguson and (Floyd) Mayweather?” Nurmagomedov said. “It will be these three guys, and we can retire and become the greatest athlete of all time.”

This isn’t the first time Nurmagomedov has expressed interest in facing these three fighters. UFC President Dana White previously has stated he believes Ferguson deserves the next shot at Nurmagomedov’s title, but the fight has been booked and subsequently canceled four times before. Although any hesitation would be understandable, it’s clear Ferguson (24-3 MMA, 14-1 UFC) remains a top target for Nurmagomedov.

As for fighting St-Pierre (26-2 MMA, 20-2 UFC), it would check all the boxes for Nurmagomedov: legacy, money and an intriguing matchup. The only requirement would seem to be that it takes place at 155 pounds.

“Georges St.-Pierre is a very big name. I like an opponent who is a very tough opponent, and he’s a little bit bigger than me,” Nurmagomedov said. “And if we’re gonna fight, we have to fight at 155, because 170 is his weight, and he’s gonna be a little bit bigger than me. And for me, it’s like a smart decision taking him to 155. And, yes, he’s a very big challenge for me. Like, for my legacy, he’s a very good matchup for my legacy, for fans, for money, for everywhere now. And I don’t know about his future, about his plans, but I respect him.

“In my opinion he’s the greatest athlete who ever competed in the UFC, because he’s a champion inside the cage and outside the cage, too. And we’ll see. But if you ask me about Georges St. Pierre, of course I’m interested in this match.”

Mayweather (50-0 boxing) already has made it clear that the only fight he’d consider with Nurmagomedov is in a boxing ring, which is just fine with the UFC champion, who seems drawn by the idea of spoiling Mayweather’s perfect 50-0 record.

“Mayweather now is old – 41, 42 years old. You know, but he’s a very big name. If we can take very big fish, why not?” Nurmagomedov said. “A lot of people don’t understand about age, about when you did in competition. Like, they think, ‘Oh, Mayweather,’ and that’s it or ‘Conor,’ and that’s it. They don’t know what’s inside. We can take everything what they have. You know, all his 50-0, we can take this because he’s too old, too small, and it’s gonna be smart decision for my future, for legacy, for money, for fans, for everywhere.”

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With nine consecutive wins under his belt, Tony Ferguson is looking for the UFC to treat him like a star.

On Monday, “El Cucuy” appeared on “The MMA Hour” to provide clarification on why a high-profile lightweight bout between himself and No. 1 contender Khabib Nurmagomedov is stuck in limbo. UFC president Dana White has put his foot down on renegotiating Ferguson’s contract to match the financials of Nurmagomedov’s, and Ferguson doesn’t understand why they aren’t willing to go the extra mile to make the fight happen.

“The UFC has a long history of changing a fighter’s compensation for a particular bout,” said Ferguson. “We just saw this for UFC 207 with Ronda (Rousey). There are always changes that are being made as far as contracts.”

The exact details of the UFC’s contracts are not made available to the public, but it’s presumed that superstars like Rousey and Conor McGregor receive compensation beyond their originally negotiated pay due to their enormous drawing power. Ferguson is not on their level as far as notoriety goes, which he thinks is because he isn’t getting the same outlets to showcase his talents.

“I haven’t had the opportunities that (other fighters have had),” said Ferguson. “Over the past five fights I’ve only been on one pay-per-view. All the rest have been on FOX Sports 1 cards, which limits my mainstream exposure.

“Khabib has been on three pay-per-views and two UFC on FOXs, which draws much larger audiences than FOX Sports 1 cards. There’s nothing that suggests that Khabib draws any larger than me.”

Nurmagomedov took to Twitter to offer Ferguson an extra $200,000 to sign the bout agreement, an offer that Ferguson shrugged off. If Nurmagomedov wants to put on a show for his fellow Russians, Ferguson believes it should be on the UFC’s dime and no one else’s.

“UFC has the chance to make the most money out of everything right now,” said Ferguson. “They’re looking to build the hugest, biggest demographic in Russia. Let us fight. I’m trying to build my demographic too, let me work for you guys. But compensate me the way that I need to be compensated. I love my company, love what I do.”