Interim UFC lightweight title challenger Tony Ferguson said that undisputed champ Conor McGregor is running from a fight by trying to box Floyd Mayweather. But Ferguson will be ready when McGregor returns.
“He’s trying to avoid me by going over to boxing,” Ferguson (22-3 MMA, 12-1 UFC) said Thursday during a conference call in support of his long-awaited grudge match against Khabib Nurmagomedov (24-0 MMA, 8-0 UFC) in the co-headliner of next week’s UFC 209. “I honestly couldn’t care less. This is a man’s sport we play.”
UFC 209 takes place March 4 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The event’s main card airs live on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.
McGregor (21-3 MMA, 9-1 UFC), the No. 1 ranked fighter in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA lightweight rankings, should be watching the grudge match, because it will reveal his future – at least in MMA. Officially, McGregor’s on a 10-month leave of absence to prepare for the arrival of his first child. Unofficially though, it seems he’s getting ready for a showdown with retired boxing champ Mayweather.
No. 3 Ferguson has to go through McGregor if he wants to win the undisputed belt. Of course, he’s confident that when they meet, the belt will be his. But first, there’s No. 2 Nurmagomedov to address.
Ferguson said he’s no slouch in the octagon, training with former champ Victor Ortiz’s coach and at the famed Wild Card Academy. The only difference is that his work is geared toward success in MMA.
“I’ve been putting in my my work and my effort, and Khabib and me are going to have this war. Whatever Conor does, I gave him a pass. I don’t have to talk too much (expletive). He’s got a kid coming up. I told him, go spend some of that money, dude. Go do what you’ve got to do and earn that little thing that you’ve got, and then come back when you’re ready to be a man.
“I’m at 155. Once I’m done, I’ll move on and make sure whoever’s next is going to get it. But right now, the fight at hand is Khabib Nurmagomedov, and we’re here to do business.”
Watch UFC 209 Highlights for the March 4th fight below: