Tony Ferguson: I’m the Real UFC Champ at 155 Pounds

Former
Ultimate Fighting Championship
interim lightweight champion
Tony
Ferguson
still considers himself the king of the weight class,
despite the fact the UFC officially crowned Khabib
Nurmagomedov
as the undisputed champion with his victory over
late replacement Al Iaquinta
last month.

Ferguson was scheduled to fight Nurmagomedov for the belt in April
at
UFC 223
, but had to withdraw from the fight just days away from
the event after suffering a knee injury while promoting the bout.
The knee injury suffered by “El Cucuy” required surgery.

The “TUF” Season 13 winner still sees himself as the champion,
which is why he’s targeting a showdown with the official champion
in Nurmagomedov once he’s been cleared by the doctors to compete
again.

“The doctor told me recovery time is anywhere from three to six
months with this kind of procedure, but I heal quick. Whenever
Khabib’s bi*ch ass comes back, that’s when I’ll be back. I’m
thinking November,” Ferguson said when talking to ESPN.

“The UFC has indicated my title is gone and Khabib is the only
champion at 155 pounds, but the UFC hasn’t mentioned anything
official to my management. As far as I’m concerned, I’m still the
true 155-pound champion. I never lost my belt.”

The decision to strip Ferguson of the interim belt is a blow
financially as his next fight would be as a contender rather than
the (interim) champion, which would have given him significant
financial perks. Ferguson doesn’t believe he should be penalized
for getting injured for doing something that was actually intended
to help the UFC promote the event.

“That’s a big middle finger to ‘T-Ferg’ right there — that’s a
kick to the groin if they do that,” Ferguson said. “At the end of
the day, does the UFC really like its fighters? I’m one of their
toughest fighters. Don’t kick me when I’m down.

“I missed out on pay-per-view points, my purse, a big payday; a lot
of things behind the scenes. They have to either give me my title
back or make sure I’m fighting under that same contract. I’ve
earned that.”

While Ferguson believes he deserves to be next in line for a title
shot, he may already have been pushed down the pecking order with
the UFC rumored to be matching up Nurmagomedov with Conor
McGregor
.

McGregor was stripped of his lightweight title last month after
failing to defend it since winning the belt with his victory over
Eddie
Alvarez
in November 2016.

Nurmagomedov and McGregor have a lot of bad blood and when McGregor
attacked the bus last month it was an apparent attempt to
intimidate Nurmagomedov — who was on the bus — after he allegedly
slapped McGregor’s
SBG Ireland
teammate Artem Lobov
in the hotel lobby days before the attack. The incident was aired
all over the world and the UFC will no doubt want to use that
footage to promote a potential record breaking pay-per-view fight
between the pair, pending McGregor’s court hearing next month where
he will face a number of charges relating to the attack.

Ferguson is hoping the UFC will do right by him when he’s finally
ready to return to action later this year.

“I think the UFC is going to do what they want to do, like any
other time. But it’s disrespectful to me to strip my title,”
Ferguson said. “I should still be the interim champion. In fact, I
should be the champion and Khabib should be the interim champion.”

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