Tony Ferguson Assesses UFC 249 And Outlines His Future Plans
Nearly three months after his loss to Justin Gaethje at UFC 249, Tony Ferguson has opened up on his time off and shared his desire to get back atop the lightweight division. The former UFC interim lightweight champion spoke to ESPN‘s Ariel Helwani about what his future plans, in what was his first interview since his loss to ‘The Highlight’ in May.
The Path To Lightweight Championship
“You want to give me Conor [McGregor], give me Conor,” Ferguson said. “You want to give me [Dustin] Poirier, we’ll make it happen and then we’ll fight and then we’ll fight the winner of the Gaethje and Khabib fight.”
McGregor announced his retirement from MMA last month, but Ferguson wants to make a statement by beating one of the division’s top contenders. ‘El Cucuy’ said however that he’s open to facing Poirier if the Irishman decides to stay retired.
Ferguson is currently the number three lightweight contender in the UFC’s division rankings, while Poirier is ranked number two and McGregor number four.
“They’re both decent fighters,” Ferguson said. “They’re both good. We’re all in the top five for a reason. As far as fights go, if Conor wants to fight, I’m down for that. I’d love to fight a southpaw. I do really well, I knocked out Aaron Riley’s jaw on accident. When it comes down to fighting standup, you’ve got to remember when I fought Edson Barboza. It’s a lot different.
“This mix and matching kind of stuff, that if it does happen again, I’m cool, man. I’m already used to it. It doesn’t matter. Opponent switches, COVID, anything else wants to pop up, let’s go, we’re used to it now.”
Despite the loss to Gaethje, Ferguson still believes he’s an elite fighter and wants to prove that he’s a top-tier athlete.
“I would love to compete against Khabib, Poirier, McGregor,” Ferguson said. “Those are the three right there. Why? Talent-wise, that’s why.
“Not because of any other ways or means. Because of the talent and the athletic respect that I have for their talent that they have in this sport.”
Time Off After UFC 249 Loss
After the defeat at UFC 249, Ferguson took a break from the spotlight to shake off his loss and reassess his career goals.
“I listened to my boxing coach and took some time off,” Ferguson said. “It was really good. I got to spend a lot of time with my family. I got to go to Big Bear and spend a lot of time with my boy, my pups, my wife, everybody and really think about what my future [entailed] and tried to put everything behind me.
“Because I really wasn’t happy with that fight. I enjoy getting hit but I can’t let that sh*t happen again.”
While he’s disappointed with his performance at UFC 249, Ferguson isn’t dwelling on the loss. He’s looking forward to getting back in the Octagon and returning to winning ways.
“It was boring, like fighting one of my own teammates.” Ferguson said. “It was one of those extreme situations that shouldn’t have happened like how it went down. [The fight went] how it did and you can’t change that. Like I said, Justin was the better man that night.
“I’m just anxious for the future. I really am. They know how hungry and eager I am in the UFC.”
Who would you like to see Tony Ferguson fight next?