Tony Ferguson is facing Kevin Lee in the main event of UFC 216 in a bout to crown a new UFC Interim Lightweight Champion.
When Ferguson steps into the Octagon this October, the winner of their duel is going to be the real UFC Lightweight Champion, at least in one fighter’s mind.
“I have always said that I am the real champion, I’ve always said that and I’ve worked my ass off. The only loss I had is when I broke my arm, when I broke my arm, I had to sit back and watch every other mother f*ck*r go out there and fight while I was on the sidelines. I’m a three sport athlete…football, baseball, wrestling, so when I wasn’t able to watch all and play, it drove me crazy man. From that point on, I’ve had nine consecutive victories,” Ferguson said to Fightful.com correspondent Kendrick Johnson.
Lee and Ferguson didn't seem to have much of an issue initially -- until the two went at it verbally in June after Lee defeated Michael Chiesa at UFC Fight Night Oklahoma City. Ferguson was working the event as a member of the Fox Sports 1 analysts panel, and the two traded verbal jabs back and forth. Eventually the video was even removed from Fox Sports 1's official Youtube page.
Ferguson hasn’t competed since earning a unanimous decision win over former UFC Lightweight Champion Rafael Dos Anjos at UFC Fight Night 98. Ferguson was originally set to take on Khabib Nurmagomedov earlier this year, but a bad weight cut from Nurmagomedov led to the fight being scrapped just a day before it was to take place at UFC 209 in match. It was the third time that the two had been scheduled to do battle. UFC would try to reschedule the fight, but ramadan and injuries to Khabib would nix those plans
It has been a little while since Ferguson fought, but the lightweight contender says that he has improved since his last bout.
“Absolutely, I’ve gotten stronger, I’ve gotten my fight IQ way up to date. Not only if I’ve studied Khabib (Nurmagomedov) or Conor (McGregor) or anybody else because I’ve never watched film on Conor. Everybody says I’ve copied Conor and doing all of his stuff, this guys (Conor) movement has been a thing of mine since forever, I’ve been a break dancer, I’ve always been into gymnastics, I’ve always been into rings and doing all of this park stuff. Who do you think told Conor to go train at the park? I’ve been training people and helping people lose hundreds of pounds at the park. This is what I do, I don’t do this for show, what I’m doing out there, I’m doing with my family to,” says Ferguson.
UFC 216 takes place on Saturday, October 7 from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada with Tony Ferguson and Kevin Lee headlining. Fightful is providing live coverage of the event from the start of the prelims, with a post-show podcast to follow.