Tony Ferguson medical suspension clears way for Conor McGregor return
"If he wants to go in 2017, I’m down."
Tony Ferguson is taking a couple of days off to bask in his UFC title victory but he has no issues with launching into another 12-week training camp.
'El Cucuy' defeated Kevin Lee at UFC 216 to become the interim lightweight champion and set a clear path to a title unification bout with Conor McGregor.
That is the fight UFC president Dana White wants to happen and Ferguson would love to happen, but which the interim champ believes McGregor wants no part of. Ferguson told The MMA Hour:
"Look, Conor watches the fights. This dude didn’t say sh*t. He didn’t say sh*t on Twitter. He didn’t even comment saying 'good fight'.
'He said he was looking forward to watching this fight; he hasn’t said nothing. The boy is scared. He's running.
"I told him, just set the belt down and walk away and nobody will get hurt. That’s all you’ve got to do: just set it down and you won’t get ass kicked, I swear, by another Mexican."
That last comment was clearly in reference to Nate Diaz. There have been reports of a McGregor-Diaz trilogy fight being his return bout to the UFC. Despite White labelling such talk as "internet bullshit", McGregor and his coaches [John Kavanagh and Owen Roddy] have all talked openly as that fight being a live option.
Ferguson versus McGregor is definitely the right bout for the division and the interim champion's medical suspension, post UFC 216, will certainly not prevent it from taking place before the year is out.
Medics have suspended Ferguson from contact for just three weeks 'for possible left corneal abrasion'. That stems from an accidental eye poke he received from Lee in the first round of their fight.
White is hoping to end 2017 with the biggest card of the year, on December 30, in Las Vegas. There is no better way of ensuring that than if McGregor is headlining the UFC 219 card.
Ferguson is still not convinced and won't be until he sees a bout agreement with McGregor's signature on it.
"I think Conor’s full of sh*t," he told Ariel Helwani.
"I don’t think he’s going to fight this year. I think he was just saying it to keep people on their toes. But if he wants to go in 2017, I’m down.
"I’m ready to start training next week. We’ve got a 12-week training camp, we can get this sh*t rolling. The doctors already know that I’m not injured."
That possible scrape to the eye might hold Ferguson's training up slightly but not enough to get this unification fight delayed into 2018.
The next move would appear to be McGregor's.