Former UFC Interim Lightweight Champion Tony Ferguson was supposed to fight Khabib Nurmagomedov for the undisputed title at UFC 223, but then Ferguson suffered a knee injury and was pulled from the bout.
The title would also be stripped from Ferguson a short time later, but the former champion still believes he is the real UFC Lightweight Champion.
“The doctor told me recovery time is anywhere from three to six months with this kind of procedure, but I heal quick,” Ferguson told ESPN. “Whenever Khabib’s b**ch ass comes back, that’s when I’ll be back. I’m thinking November. The UFC has indicated my title is gone and Khabib is the only champion at 155 pounds, but the UFC hasn’t mentioned anything official to my management. As far as I’m concerned, I’m still the true 155-pound champion. I never lost my belt.”
Ferguson and Nurmagomedov were supposed to fight four times under the UFC banner, but the bouts never came to fruition due to a mix of injuries and bad luck.
Al Iaquinta wound up replacing Ferguson and UFC Featherweight Champion Max Holloway at UFC 223, but Ferguson says Nurmagomedov shouldn’t be proud to have defeated a “third string” fighter to become champion.
“I thought Al Iaquinta did a great job at UFC 223, but Khabib is going to say he won the Super Bowl after he faced the third string?” he said. “No way, dude. So many people hold him up on a high horse, but I see his flaws. I wasn’t impressed with anything he did. I think the UFC is going to do what they want to do, like any other time. But it’s disrespectful to me to strip my title. I should still be the interim champion. In fact, I should be the champion and Khabib should be the interim champion.”
It could be highly unlikely that Ferguson and Nurmagomedov do meet in the Octagon because UFC President Dana White has stated that the promotion will no longer try to book that fight.