It is safe to say that Tony Ferguson has had some troubles getting his shot at undisputed UFC gold. Ahead of his UFC 256 bout with Charles Olivera, “El Cucuy” addresses the need for a title shot, while expressing a few theories as to why the UFC has not given him one.
This weekend will be the first time that Ferguson is fighting while coming off of a loss since way back in 2013. However despite winning twelve in a row over that seven year span, the closest Tony has ever gotten to the UFC title is an interim belt and a few failed bookings with Khabib Nurmagomedov. Now he is in a precarious position when he takes on Olivera, because he is looking to remain at the top of the lightweight title picture after suffering defeat at the hands of Justin Gaethje earlier this year.
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Tony Ferguson Does Not Care If Khabib Is Retired
One of the reasons that this UFC 256 fight between Tony Ferguson and Charles Olivera is so important, is the fact that the division is in a bit of flux, as lightweight champ Khabib Nurmagomedov does not seem interested in fighting again. This had led many to speculate that this weekend’s lightweight co-main event should have some sort of title implications attached to it, whether it be a number one contender’s spot or an interim title. When asked in a recent interview if he thought Khabib would return or if he should be fighting for an interim title, Tony’s answer was fairly direct.
“I couldn’t give two f–ks,” Ferguson said. “I just want to be real, I don’t care anymore. With that being said, there wasn’t enough juice in the squeeze for my family. All this worrying about title shots and wet dreams about the title belt and all these other things that the UFC dangles in front of me or other fighters, I used to let that affect me. I’m no longer letting the UFC control me or my attitude and my financials or anything anymore. I’ve taken complete advantage of my stuff, I’ve increased my value to the point that I know it.”
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The UFC Doesn’t Want A Mexican Champion?
Even if Tony Ferguson has gotten to the point where he no longer worries about things like title shots, there is no denying that he should have already fought for the undisputed title on at least one occasion. Unfortunately that did not happen, due to various circumstances at various points in time. However Tony seems to think there are a few reasons why the UFC never really pushed for him to get that shot.
“Nothing is owed to anybody, that’s what I realized a long time ago,” Ferguson said. “You have to earn that s–t. I’m going to be real. Twelve fights in a row, no title shot. Eight years, no loss, Conor’s still on Welfare, women’s division wasn’t even f–king made yet and all this stuff that you see in the memes. That doesn’t get you a title shot? It’s a f–king wet dream. I’m Mexican dude, they don’t want to see me f–king have a belt. I don’t understand it, like I can use any excuse. Ask Dana, ask them why I don’t have it. Am I not marketable? Have I not increased my value over time? I went from 100k on Instagram to a million in less than a year.
“I like to work, I enjoy what I do for a living,” Ferguson continued. “Belt or no belt, I’ve got one. I’m not greedy.”
It seems hard to say that Tony Ferguson is not marketable or that the UFC does not want a Mexican champion. That being said, it does appear that he had a tough road to the title, that never quite got him there. Perhaps he will get back on track on Saturday, and will pop right back up into the title picture of the complicated lightweight division.