Tony Ferguson: If Dustin Poirier can't, Khabib Nurmagomedov needs ass whooping from me
CHICAGO – Former UFC interim lightweight champion Tony Ferguson again called for a title shot following a win over Donald Cerrone at UFC 238.
But he also appears open to another option with the last name McGregor.
“I’ve got 12 (wins) in a row, I should be calling the shots,” Ferguson told MMA Junkie at the post-event news conference when asked about his ideal next step. “I don’t have the title already; everyone else needs an (evaluation).
“I don’t know what else I have to do in this division to keep after it. It’s a round robin tournament, but I’m tired of it. I’m here to stay. I am the (expletive) champ.”
On Monday, Ferguson (25-3 MMA, 15-1 UFC) will go back to the gym and get back on his workout. He didn’t say whether he’ll be ready in case an injury breaks up a title unifier between champ Khabib Nurmagomedov and interim titleholder Dustin Poirier in September at UFC 232. But it’s hard to imagine he’ll say no.
Ferguson’s first choice is to fight Nurmagomedov, whom he’s been booked opposite four times before injuries and other mishaps got in the way. Nurmagomedov has yet to taste defeat in 27 pro fights and 11 octagon appearances.
“If Dustin Poirier doesn’t do it, I’m going to do it,” Ferguson said. “‘Tiramisu’ (Nurmagomedov) needs an ass whooping; he needs two to the stomach from me.”
Then again, Ferguson wouldn’t mind a showdown with former two-division champ Conor McGregor, whose retirement is believed to be a play for a better contract.
“If it’s ‘McNuggets’ for a money fight, he’s an athlete, too,” Ferguson said. “I know the division misses him. I’m pretty sure he misses the fight game, too. We need to see these fighters keep coming out and represent the sport, because that’s why you got into it.”
A matchup with McGregor is no longer off the table, Ferguson said, now that he’s departed the management firm they once shared. So that might be a decent consolation if a title fight doesn’t materialize in the near future.
“I respect (McGregor) as an athlete,” Ferguson said. “As a person, I think he’s kind of a douche. … I have a new agency now, so there’s no conflict of interest. We’re here to kick some ass. We’re all out of bubble gum.”
But when it comes to the title, Ferguson doesn’t see Poirier upsetting Nurmagomedov for the belt. He figures he’ll have to do the job of handing the Dagestani fighter his first loss.
“Dustin, he plays a lot against the ropes,” Ferguson said. “But the kid needs to get his back off the ropes. At my academy, I have a full 20 by 20 canvas, but I don’t have any ropes around it. And I do that for a reason, so I don’t get my back against the ropes. Once you get your back against the cage, Khabib’s going to take you down, double-leg you, he’s going to mount you like that dummy, and play smash and grab. That’s how I see that playing out.
“If I were to fight Khabib, I guaran-damn-tee you I would throw him to his feet, to his back and beat him like in Sambo like a five-point move in wrestling.”