Former UFC interim champion Tony Ferguson has been in the lightweight title picture for years now. He was on an incredible 12-fight win streak before he took a short-notice fight against Justin Gaethje at UFC 249. At a point in time, Ferguson was even expected to present Khabib Nurmagomedov's with his toughest stylistic challenge in the promotion.
However, things changed after May 9th, and Tony Ferguson is no longer being talked about with respect to an immediate title shot.
Recently, Tony Ferguson spoke to Ariel Helwani and revealed how he has been brushed aside since his loss. Financially, the UFC hasn't been respecting Ferguson for his work. According to Ferguson, he was offered less money than Michael Chandler, who is a newcomer.
“Now you’re going to bring in a new dude who I have no clue who this dude is,” he said. “From a marketing standpoint, dude has less than 100k on Twitter. You’re going to try to give him more notoriety by throwing him against me and throwing him on the Khabib card. I get it. But don’t pay him more than us. He has zero time in the UFC,” Ferguson told Ariel Helwani.
Tony Ferguson is running out of opponents to fight
Despite being ranked #3 in the lightweight division, Tony Ferguson has seemingly run out of opponents to fight. Although he was supposed to fight Dustin Poirier at UFC 254, the fight never materialized because of pay disputes.
Now that Conor McGregor has inserted himself back in the mix, the UFC seems interested in booking Poirier vs McGregor 2. If McGregor wins that fight, there is no doubt that the UFC will try to book Khabib vs Conor 2, as their first fight sold over 2 million PPVs.
Apart from the aforementioned fighters, #4 ranked Dan Hooker had also shown interest in fighting Tony Ferguson, following his loss to Dustin Poirier at UFC Fight Night: Austin.
However, he too has now shifted his attention to Nate Diaz.
Can Tony Ferguson get back on track?
Ferguson is still one of the most lethal lightweights on the planet. It seems like he has fully recovered from his loss to Gaethje and is eyeing up his next fight. If Michael Chandler, who will serve as the backup for UFC 254 main event, does not compete at UFC 254, Ferguson can welcome the former Bellator champion into the UFC.
Speaking with MMA Junkie, Chandler announced that he is ready to fight Ferguson at UFC 254. But based on the outcome of his last fight, Ferguson might not want to step up on short notice again.
Besides Chandler, Tony Ferguson can also take on Charles Oliveira, who recently pulled out of his scheduled bout with Beneil Dariush. 'Du Bronx' is expected to return in November or December this year.
Any fights outside the top 6 will most likely not help Ferguson. In fact, he risks hurting his status as one of the most dangerous lightweights if he loses to a low ranked fighter. He can choose to sit out and wait for the right opportunity. However, Tony is 36 years old and time is not on his side.
If things continue down the same road, Tony Ferguson might end up as one of the best fighters to never compete for undisputed UFC title.
After multiple failed attempts to book a title fight between him and Khabib Nurmagomedov, would't that just be a pity.Published 12 Oct 2020, 18:11 IST