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Ferguson Calls McGregor “Paper Champion”

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Tony-Ferguson
(Tony Ferguson slaps on a guillotine choke, photo via the UFC's Facebook Page)

UFC lightweight Tony Ferguson is on a nine-fight win streak in the UFC and accelerating. In his last five fights, El Cucuy won three Fight of the Night awards in a row, three ‘of the Night’ performance bonuses, and hit two Darse chokes. During a recent appearance on Submission Radio, Ferguson his goal of becoming the best pound-for-pound fighter in the sport.

“It’s already a reality,” he said. “I’m already in title contention. I’ve got these guys in a chess match and I’m calling three moves. The lightweight title will be mine, but I’m looking for multiples and I am looking for that best pound for pound spot. Getting that best pound-for-pound spot will mean that I do have multiple titles around my waist. I’ve never been much for the accolades and for the trophies and for the merits because at one time in my life I kind of got bored of all those.

“Wrestling these tournaments every single weekend and getting a medal just for like going out there and competing, and I just started throwing them in a box. I don’t want that to happen. I don’t want that title to come to my hands and be like, ‘Nah, I don’t feel like it was deserved or it wasn’t earned or whatever’ – not saying that any of my accolades weren’t, but I want it to be special. I want it to be super special and just super dope, and even if it’s not special to everybody else, at least it is to me.

“And honestly, I don’t fight for anybody else besides myself and my family, so therefore I win. If anybody wants me to go for the title and they’re telling me that, I’m gonna go the complete opposite way. Just in this fight game and in the fact that that’s what everybody else is doing. I’m not a follower, I’m a leader. I don’t ever try to follow anybody’s lead. I try to pave my own path. That way, it’s trial and error, man. Sometimes you don’t have a blueprint to pave the path that you’re given.”

Conor McGregor famously went from featherweight to lightweight, winning belts in both. Ferguson intends to reverse that order.

“I guarantee you I can make 145,” he said. “This last fight camp I had no nutritionist’s help. I did my own thing and I did it really well. Like I said, I had to get away from all the bulls*** and really get back in tune with my own self and my family, where my head was at and finding the fun back in this sport. Because when you stop having fun in this sport, the weight cuts become harder and everything else becomes harder.

“When I’m having fun, I’m doing the salsa dance inside the cage, I’m throwing some different kind of combos, my feet are there. You know, I feel my feet underneath me, I’m not slipping on some stupid stickers, I’m doing my homework on all this stuff. I’m actually taking this a little bit more serious than I did before. I’m having more fun with it. You know, it’s not becoming that wrestling thing where I used to throw my medals inside the box anymore. I’m having fun with this where I want to start experimenting with my moves again and start coming up with new things, not just a Imanari roll – by the way, EA Sports needs to update my rankings on my s*** too (laughs). So that I start throwing some superman punches off the cage too. Just take some notes.“What I’m trying to do is change the game. Not a lot. Just enough so people notice it and the up-and-coming people try to beat whatever I’m doing. They’re going to go out there and try to double up on what I’m doing and keep me competitive. Because those are the guys that are really keeping us competitive, not these guys at the top.”

“What I’m trying to do is change the game. Not a lot. Just enough so people notice it and the up-and-coming people try to beat whatever I’m doing. They’re going to go out there and try to double up on what I’m doing and keep me competitive. Because those are the guys that are really keeping us competitive, not these guys at the top.”

In addition to dropping to 145, Ferguson says he can get as high as 205. However, he is looking at belts in four divisions.

“155, 145, 170 and if I’m fat enough and I get a strength and conditioning coach that wants to put some muscle on me, 185,” he said. “But I highly doubt that. I like Bisping, Bisping’s pretty chill. I can float up to 205, 210, no problem. I got the frame for it and I’ve got the attitude and the mental conditioning to train for it. These guys are not quick enough and I have the conditioning to push these guys to the limit and make them break – quoting Chael Sonnen because he has seen me do this inside over at Reign Training Centre. And it doesn’t matter what weight class they were in. I put the pressure on these dudes, I’m gonna make them fold. And that’s my mental attitude because I was the captain of a two-time national championship grand valley state university team. I had to make the decisions to push the team, even if I didn’t want to or if I was home or whatever. If I had homework or I had to work, I had to make sure that I could represent. I found that competition was in my blood, man. So this is where I’m at and I take that same attitude that I do and I call it

“And it doesn’t matter what weight class they were in. I put the pressure on these dudes, I’m gonna make them fold. And that’s my mental attitude because I was the captain of a two-time national championship grand valley state university team. I had to make the decisions to push the team, even if I didn’t want to or if I was home or whatever. If I had homework or I had to work, I had to make sure that I could represent. I found that competition was in my blood, man. So this is where I’m at and I take that same attitude that I do and I call it blue chip mental toughness. And wherever I go, whatever weight class, I’m gonna bring that attitude with me and I’m gonna enforce it and I’m gonna have fun with it and you’ll see me with my hand raised.”

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Aaron Portier
Highly passionate MMA Journalist, and I've followed the sport ever since my favorite fighter, Vitor Belfort won the heavyweight tournament at UFC 12. After that I've tried to go to every local MMA event around the Gulf Coast and surrounding areas and decided to make it a point to have a career in some aspect in the fighting sport other than fighting in general (didn't want to ruin my face). I'm currently enrolled at Southeastern Louisiana University working towards a degree in Communication. I cover MMA, Boxing and Football for The Daily Star newspaper in my hometown of Hammond, Louisiana, in addition to working as a promotional writer for a local Boxing promotion known as BoxnCar and I cover boxing for 8countnews.com however SciFighting.com is my home. My main goal is to bring more publicity to MMA in my area and to the sport as a whole as all of us involved with the sport are merely scratching the surface and laying the foundation of what mixed martial arts competition will be further down the road.