At UFC 209, Tony Ferguson will battle Khabib Nurmagomedov for the interim lightweight championship while Conor McGregor continues to negotiate a potential megafight against retired boxer Floyd Mayweather.
Ferguson will walk into the Octagon on a nine-fight win streak while Nurmagomedov is undefeated in his UFC campaign while also carrying an unblemished 24-0 record throughout his entire career.
Based upon their shared resumes, Ferguson believes the title he plans to win on March 4 won’t have an interim tag attached to it, but he also doubts whether McGregor would ever return to try and reclaim his spot anyways.
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“I call him McNuggets for a reason because he’s made of that fake ass pink [expletive] that McDonald’s offers everybody,” Ferguson told FOX Sports.
“I don’t see McNuggets ever wanting to come back. He’s using boxing as a way and a scapegoat to be able to leave this [sport] because he doesn’t want to get his ass kicked by either of us. I don’t respect him for [expletive] [expletive].”
Zuffa LLC via Getty Images/Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC
McGregor won the UFC lightweight title in his first contest at 155-pounds in the promotion after being granted a shot at former champion Eddie Alvarez this past November.
Arguably both Ferguson and Nurmagomedov had a claim to that No. 1 contender’s spot until the UFC ultimately gave McGregor the shot instead.
That’s part of the reason why Ferguson has such an issue with McGregor because he may have beaten Alvarez to win the title but he certainly didn’t earn his shot at the championship ahead of the competitors who have been grinding their way to the top in arguably the deepest division in the sport.
That being said, Ferguson couldn’t care less whether or not McGregor ever fights for the UFC again because he knows his spot will be secure as the best lightweight in the sport after he hands Nurmagomedov a loss next weekend in Las Vegas.
“If this guy wants to go and quit like a little [expletive] go for it. We don’t want you here,” Ferguson said about McGregor. “145 didn’t want you here. 170, you got submitted by No. 5 in the world. I’m No. 2.
“You’ve got the belt because Dana [White] wanted you to have it. It was more lucrative for my company that I work for and that I love so much but yet I’m still here working for them like I do like a hard ass Mexican. This is what I do. I work hard. I won’t back down.”
Ferguson’s stance on McGregor hasn’t changed much over the course of the past year as the Irishman engaged in a pair of fights with Nate Diaz before defeating Alvarez to win the belt at UFC 205.
Funny enough, Ferguson even had the chance to come face-to-face with McGregor because they happen to share the same management team and he knew in that moment that the lightweight champion wanted no part of a fight with him.
“I stood across from this dude at my management’s office and we took a picture and I saw it clear on this guy’s face, too. He didn’t say not [expletive] one word,” Ferguson said. “Nobody wants any part of me.
“He wants to take his look from a model. It was all over the UG. He wants to take his looks and his tattoos from this one male model. He wants to act and emulate something that he’s not. That’s why he’s McNuggets.”
While it’s unavoidable that McGregor’s name will come up often between now and fight night due to his specter looming large over the lightweight division, Ferguson isn’t engaged in a mission to one day challenge him in the cage.
Ferguson has no doubts that once he gets past Nurmagomedov that he is the true lightweight champion and the best 155-pound fighter in the world and McGregor’s return or retirement from mixed martial arts isn’t going to change that.
“The fight is not with him,” Ferguson said. “I could really give two [expletive]. If he comes back or not, I’m not missing any money.”