A highly-anticipated Lightweight bout between former interim champions Tony Ferguson and Dustin Poirier was teased to take place at UFC 254 on Oct. 24, 2020, in Abu Dhabi. But after contract negotiations went south between UFC and “The Diamond,” the fight went up in smoke.
According to Ferguson, a fight against Michael Chandler was offered, but it was never finalized, either. To hear “El Cucuy” break it down, it seems the promotion was willing to pay Michael Chandler — the recently-signed former Bellator MMA 155-pound champion — more than the two established UFC veterans.
Something that obviously didn’t sit too well with him.
“Now you’re going to bring in a new dude who I have no clue who this dude is,” he said on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show (via MMA Fighting). “From a marketing standpoint, dude has less than 100k [followers] on Twitter. You’re going to try 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.”
After losing to Justin Gaethje at UFC 249, not only did “El Cucuy” lose out on the chance to win the interim title again, but his much-desired opportunity to face Khabib Nurmagomedov. After five previous failed attempts, UFC president Dana White has not ruled out trying to book it again; however, it isn’t lost on Ferguson that he has to work his way back to it.
And he doesn’t care who he fights ... Nick Diaz included.
“Everybody wants me to fight Khabib, right?” Ferguson said. “Yeah, But I’ve got to earn my right back. OK, cool. Who’s it going to be? It is going to be Dustin? Or is it going to be Chandler? I don’t give a f*ck.
“I said it was a tournament,” he continued. “Now you’re adding in people. Alright, cool. Here we go again. Today marks the celebration, right? Yeah, Khabib and McGregor. F*ck them. That wouldn’t have happened unless they stripped my belt. So, f*ck you. Pay me instead of this (expletive) clown.”
Despite his resentment toward UFC regarding the disparity in fighter pay, Ferguson says he has nothing personal against Chandler, but he isn’t about to let anyone ride off his name.
“Like I said, Chandler I ain’t got nothing against you, and Dustin I ain’t got nothing against you, but I ain’t trying to help anybody no more. Justin Gaethje, you’re [expletive] welcome you have a belt, son. I guarantee, I’m going to tell you to go get my belt, because your ass is going to get whipped, and I’m coming for it. So both you and ‘fat head’ [Nurmagomedov], this is a message for both knuckleheads: my mat, my time.”
As it stands, UFC’s year-end pay-per-view (PPV) card on Dec. 12 could use some help after losing the Kamaru Usman vs. Gilbert Burns Welterweight title fight, so the addition of Ferguson against anybody would help.
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 254 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on ESPN 2/ESPN+ at 12 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 2 p.m. ET on ESPN+.
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