UFC lightweight Tony Ferguson spoke to the media ahead of his decision win over former division champion Rafael dos Anjos in the main event of UFC Fight Night 98 in Mexico City, Mexico. While virtually every other fighter on the card look fatigued at some point, Ferguson, who trained at altitude in Big Bear, California got stronger as the bout went on.
He has now won nine in a row and can obviously make a strong case for a title shot. 23-0 Khabib Nurmagomedov can too of course. And division champion Eddie Alvarez defends his belt against featherweight champion Conor McGregor at UFC 205 next Saturday, and who knows what happens after that. In any case, Ferguson was unperturbed.
“If I wanted the title, I would have already had it,” said Ferguson at the post fight press conference, as compiled by Fernanda Prates and Justin Park for MMAjunkie. “I wanted to pick this division apart, one by one. I said to Dana, when I was in ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ house, he asked me, ‘Who do you want to fight next?’ I told him, ‘This is a tournament, right? Because in a tournament you’re supposed to beat the best, even if you’re picking them off one by one and being a round-robin, you’ve got to fight absolutely everybody.
“When I get to that title, it will be my title and it will by my fight. Not because I talked my way to get there, or because I have a big-ass following. I don’t care. I’m here for a reason. I’m here to win.
“There are two other divisions I would love to be able to go into. I made 153 pounds at the weigh-ins – I weighed in with pants on. I can go down to 145. I can kick everyone’s butt there. I can bump back up to 155, knock everybody out and finish them, and you’re damn sure I can go to 170 and do the same thing. I want to be a multi-division champ.”
“It went the way I wanted it to go. Honestly, I was in the back thinking I wanted to finish him in round two, but I really wanted to test myself out. I wanted to see my durability go through and how my training camp in Big Bear at the Snapdown City Academy worked out for me.
“’RDA’ posed no threat to me. I felt not one time I was in any danger. … My coach Eddie Bravo tells me that I told him in the second round, I told him I was going to break his shin. And one of my coaches back home, he told me, ‘Make sure you kick his front shin. Make him quit.’ And after I started doing that and I saw his face wince with pain, and every time I checked his kicks, he didn’t want no more part of me inside that octagon.
“So I wanted to go five rounds and I wanted to make sure that the whole entire division knew exactly who I am.“
Ferguson’s sole loss in the UFC was to Michael Johnson back in 2012. Johnson fights Nurmagomedov at UFC 205. Ferguson wouldn’t mind a rematch there. In fact, he will fight anybody.
“The problem is that he’s the one who doesn’t want to fight me,” said Ferguson of Johnson. “I’m ready to fight against anybody, I can fight anyone of these guys, I’m ready to fight any of them, I’m ready to fight five rounds against anybody, but I want to fight on pay-per-view. I want to get paid.”