There is still a sour taste in the mouths of MMA fans after the cancellation of UFC 209’s most anticipated fight between Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov.
‘El Cucuy’ is one of the most exciting and fan friendly fighters on the roster and unfortunately it seems we will not get to see him compete any time soon.
Khabib is still recovering from a disastrous weight cut that ended when his body began struggling to supply blood to his liver. The Dagestani is also a devout Muslim and with Ramadan commencing at the end of May and concluding the end of June, any rescheduling of this grudge match will likely be on hold until August. However, the good news is that Ferguson is actively seeking a fight in the meantime, preferably for international fight week in July.
A title fight against Conor McGregor is well deserved at this stage but effectively improbable given the Irishman’s unrelenting desire to box Floyd Mayweather. In recent times, the nine-fight streaking Ferguson has shunned fight offers from the likes of Edson Barboza, who he beat in December 2015 and Michael Chiesa, a man he was scheduled to fight last year. ‘El Cucuy’ has been clever with his call outs and has targeted Stockton superstar Nate Diaz as his next opponent in a series of social media posts recently.
Earlier this week Ferguson spoke to the Las Vegas Review Journal where he once again declared his desire to face his fellow ‘TUF’ winner and suggested if Diaz is not going to throw down then he should probably hang up his gloves.
“I’m down for the battle of California,” Ferguson said. “He wants to represent [area code] 209, I’m from 805 in the Oxnard area. I think obviously my hands are a lot better. I think this game is about the glory, not all about the money. Obviously you have to make your peace in this industry, but sh*t Nate, if you don’t want to fight man, move on, retire. Go do something else man, cause we’re here to fight in this industry. But everyone else is taken, so yeah, Nate would be the next one up.”
‘El Cucuy’ then went on to state that he feels the introduction of an interim lightweight title is once again imminent given McGregor’s petition to fight Mayweather and the fact that the Irishman usually gets what he wants.
“If Conor doesn’t step up, they’ll make an interim belt,” he said. “I think they’ll make an interim belt either way. I just think interim is a word that they throw around a lot, and it’s going to be thrown my way. I don’t think anything else is going to change right now. Conor is obviously the favourite at my weight class, but I don’t play favourites. I knock ’em all out. I finish them, D’Arce or knockout, so it doesn’t matter man.”
It is extremely difficult for the UFC to rely on Khabib to make it to the Octagon for a fight with Ferguson, as he has twice pulled out of the match-up. The safer and more profitable option would be putting together Diaz-Ferguson for an interim lightweight title. It will certainly sell PPV’s and has the potential to make the inevitable trilogy fight between Diaz and Conor McGregor even more enormous.
Nonetheless, as long as we see ‘El Cucuy’ competing in any capacity in the near future it will be more than enough.