It’s been a rough week so far for former UFC interim lightweight champion Tony Ferguson. Originally scheduled to face Khabib Nurmagomedov (for the fourth time) at UFC 223, ‘El Cucuy’ fell foul to an injury this past weekend…
The drama surrounding UFC 223’s main event is like a trip down memory lane. For the fourth time in their non-violent rivalry, Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov failed to make it to the fight.
This time, it was an injury suffered by Ferguson on April fool’s day that saw the bout fall apart. Making the entire situation all the more confusing, Ferguson was the interim champion following UFC 214, but the promotion had never fully committed to stripping Conor McGregor.
‘The Notorious’ has been out of action for approaching 18 months now, with the winner of UFC 223’s main event to be crowned full champion. Now that Ferguson is out and Max Holloway is in, the full belt remains on the line but ‘El Cucuy’ is no longer junior champ.
Let me understand, Conor is a LW Champ, Tony is a interim champ, Tony is out… The winner between Khabib and Max will be a “Inter interim Champ” of UFC?
— Rafael dos Anjos (@RdosAnjosMMA) April 2, 2018
Yeah Pretty Much…I Think
Even with his extended absence, McGregor’s shadow looms heavy over the division. As for Ferguson, it’s a bitter pill to swallow and equally as frustrating for his fans. As told to Ariel Helwani last night, Ferguson believes he should not have been stripped:
“I haven’t spoken with the UFC yet about what’s next,” Ferguson said on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour. “So when I saw what was in the [ESPN] interview, it shocked me, man, it hurt me even more. It was something I couldn’t control with this injury. This all started snowballing this weekend, man. Of all weekends. The UFC hasn’t said anything to me about my title going away, and I don’t think it will go away.”
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“You shouldn’t strip a champion due to a freak injury that happened during a UFC-obligated media event,” Ferguson said.
“It was just a matter of, I slipped, man,” Ferguson said. “I heard it pop. Once we got back to the car after FOX interviewed us, I turned to wife to tell her what happened, and she was concerned. I had a couple of my team members, and UFC staff with me. Afterwards I went home and did a pool workout and I felt tension and danger in my workout. I woke up on Friday with some pain and I still tried to push through it. You guys know me, I’m tough. I tried to train later that evening after taking a day of rest but my knee locked up.”
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“I mean seriously, there is a precedent for having a fight for a “real” title and keeping an “interim” title intact,” Ferguson said. “They just did that with Robert Whittaker last year.”
“I’m not a doctor,” Ferguson said. “But when I saw my MRI image, dude, I don’t know about you, but I was like it looked like a flag with my ligament, it was hanging on the side of the pole. I wanted them to shoot me with some sort of numbing shot or whatever they put, but they said it was likely it would blew up whole entire knee.”