Tony Ferguson is relentless in his quest for UFC gold. The former Ultimate Fighter season 13 welterweight winner is the clear number one contender in the UFC’s most stacked division, yet he can’t seem to get an opponent.
El Cucuy quietly accumulated a string of exceptional victories beginning way back in 2012 after a decision loss to Michael Johnson.
Since then Ferguson has looked near flawless, racking up nine consecutive wins over elite opposition such as Edson Barboza and former lightweight champion Rafael Dos Anjos. The California native finished six of those opponents and broke the record for longest winning streak in UFC lightweight history in the process.
However, it seems Ferguson’s road to the championship is out of his control despite his impressive achievements listed above. UFC 209 was supposed to be El Cucuy’s crowning moment but Khabib Nurmagomedov failed to make the walk to the Octagon leaving Ferguson in limbo, where he still resides nearly two months later.
In the fallout of UFC 209, Ferguson has received call-outs from Michael Chiesa, who he was scheduled to face in 2015, and Edson Barboza, a man Ferguson submitted in a thrilling short notice contest in December of 2015. Understandably, El Cucuy rejected both fights as he felt they would be a step backwards and he has nothing to gain from fighting either man.
Knowing that a title fight against current lightweight champion Conor McGregor is virtually out of the question for now, El Cucuy cleverly set his sights on what could potentially be a huge money fight in Nate Diaz. The Stockton slap specialist is also actively seeking a fight despite reports from Dana White claiming Diaz has been consistently turning down fights. Ferguson has called out the Gracie black belt several times already even telling him to either fight or retire.
Thus far, Diaz has remained silent, choosing to ignore Ferguson’s provocative jibes. However, El Cucuy is determined to make this fight happen and earlier this week he singled out Diaz once again while speaking on the Five Rounds podcast (via Bloody Elbow), where he maintained the jiu jitsu expert needs to forget about McGregor and move on.
“He’s like a f**king bad ex-girlfriend. Literally a bad taste in somebody’s mouth if you win or you lose, you’ve gotta move on dude. Literally, if you have that money fight, you should pay your taxes and then move on. This is a fighter sport.”
Ferguson then tried to tempt Diaz by using a shot at the title as bait while also claiming Nate is unworthy of a championship opportunity but he is still willing to give it to him anyway.
“You’re ranked number what, eight? Ninth? Don’t you want to be better than that? S—t, dude you beat is ranked higher than you. Don’t you want an opportunity at the belt? Come on. I’m skipping a couple names but I’m giving you an opportunity. I’m doing you a favour, I’m not doing myself a f—king favour. I’m giving you a chance but if you don’t want it, that’s cool. I’ll give somebody else a chance.”
El Cucuy continued to poke at his fellow Ultimate Fighter season winner by using one of older brother Nick’s classic lines regarding his alleged unwillingness to fight.
“Nate, you’re not the last option. If you don’t want to fight, go hide in a hole. But you’ve got to admit on Twitter that you don’t want to fight me. You’re f—king scared homie. All that s—t’s gotta go out the f—king window. ‘Don’t be scared homie.’ People are gonna start throwing that s—t away and it’s gonna be crazy.”
Since McGregor’s meteoric rise to the top of the fight game, many others are trying to emulate the Irish superstar by pursuing the now coined phrase of ‘money fights’.
Ferguson is no different, and he gave Diaz a reality check by stating that McGregor may never compete in the UFC again so the 209 representative should take the current money fight on the table.
“You can wait for McNuggets but we all know if you wait for that fool, if he fights Mayweather and he doesn’t fight again, you might not get another chance for a big money fight besides this guy. So I’m giving you a shot. If you want it, it’s perfect. If you like it, sign on the dotted line.”
It will be interesting to see if Diaz chooses to respond to yet another verbal thrashing from Ferguson, or if he is content to sit on the sidelines determined to wait for the McGregor trilogy fight.
David O’Donovan, Pundit Arena