Tony Ferguson hasn’t been shy about voicing his opinion when it comes to fighters ducking him, proclaiming that they prefer to stay in the shadows or call out others to prevent from having to see his "scary" side inside the Octagon. But, with the spotlight on him following his impressive unanimous decision win over former Lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos at UFC Fight Night 98 last weekend (Sat., Nov. 5, 2016) in Mexico City, Mexico (see it), "El Cucuy" didn’t exactly go full Nate Diaz during his post-fight speech.
In fact, it was the complete opposite, as he simply thanked dos Anjos for the fight and shouted out "Viva Mexico" before saying he was done and returning to his team. It was a mistake, according to long-time mixed martial arts (MMA) veteran-turned analyst, Kenny Florian, who says Ferguson should have seized the opportunity to call for a championship fight against either Eddie Alvarez or Conor McGregor. Or, at the very least, call for another top-ranked opponent next.
"KenFlo" broke it down on a recent appearance on "The MMA Hour:"
"Fighters don’t always have the best opportunities to promote themselves or fights. But, when the opportunity is presented to them, they have to take advantage of that. You have a mic, you’re in front of millions of people, why aren’t you promoting your next fight? Why don’t you already have a guy that you want to fight in your mind? Why aren’t you already kind of hyping yourself up a little bit. Ferguson, what he’s done, how do you deny him a (title) shot with everything’s he’s done coming off a very impressive win over the former champion? Absolutely Tony, get vocal, man. You had your shot. Yeah, a little bit (he messed up)."
For the record, Florian says if it were up to him, he would pick Ferguson as the next title challenger at 155 pounds, saying that while Khabib Nurmagomedov is just as deserving, he gives Ferguson the nod for being more dependable and for his style of fighting.
His nine-fight win streak doesn’t hurt, either. And now that he's ranked No. 1, his case for a championship fight has never been clearer.
That said, if Nurmagomedov happens to defeat Michael Johnson this weekend (Sat., Nov. 12, 2016) at UFC 205 (more on that here) and hops on the mic and cuts a good promo calling for a title fight, he could get the nod over "El Cucuy" next. Opportunity lost for Ferguson?