Former interim UFC lightweight champion, Tony ‘El Cucuy’ Ferguson seen his stunning, division-tying twelve-fight undefeated run snapped in May of this year – but has certain plans to score his second Octagon appearance of the annum in December, in a potential matchup with recent signing, Michael Chandler.
Ferguson, who was originally scheduled to headline a UFC 249 event opposite Khabib Nurmagomedov for the undisputed lightweight championship earlier this year, dropped a lopsided fifth-round knockout loss to current interim best, Justin Gaethje – with the latter replacing Khabib in a May showcase, after restrictions amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic prevented Khabib from returning to the United States from his native Russia.
Ferguson, 36, was tentatively targeted to meet with fellow former interim 155-pound titleholder, Dustin Poirier at UFC 254 this weekend in Abu Dhabi, UAE – with the promotion and Lafayette native, Poirier failing to agree terms on a deal which would pit the two together.
The promotion then reportedly attempted to pair Ferguson with former three-time Bellator lightweight best, Chandler, with Ferguson also finding terms with the UFC difficult to agree upon. Missouri native Chandler has remained unmatched and is set to serve as a backup to this weekend’s unification clash between Khabib and Gaethje.
Speaking with ESPN MMA reporter, Brett Okamoto recently – Ferguson insisted he’s ready to return to the Octagon in December and would stand opposite Chandler if that’s a matchup the promotion is hoping to nail down.
“Michael Chandler hasn’t earned his way to the top,” Ferguson explained. “But if that’s who Dana White wants me to fight, you know me: I put my boots on, and I go to work. When it came to COVID(-19), I made weight, and I went to work. There was a point, seventy-two hours, it was myself, Dana, Sean Shelby and my wife, just trying to make that sh*t happen. If I hadn’t taken that fight [against Justin Gaethje], how many people would not have gotten paid?“
“Do I want to fight? Yes. I want to fight in December. I’m fu*king training. Let’s go. But I don’t think somebody who doesn’t even belong here should be paid more than me. That’s what I’m saying.“
The damaging loss to Gaethje marked Ferguson’s first defeat since May of 2012 in a unanimous decision loss to promotional mainstay, Michael Johnson. As part of his noted twelve fight winning run, Ferguson took eye-catching wins over Josh Thomson, Edson Barboza, Rafael dos Anjos, Anthony Pettis, Donald Cerrone, and a triangle win over Kevin Lee in October of 2017 at UFC 216 – scoring him the interim title.