If Tony Ferguson had his way, the Ultimate Fighting Championship lightweight title would be vacant now.
Ferguson appeared on SportsCenter on ESPN on Wednesday night, where he ripped into Khabib Nurmagomedov’s decision to pull out of their UFC 249 matchup. In his interview with Ariel Helwani, he claimed that Nurmagomedov was “scared” and “running” and that the champ should be stripped of his title.
On Monday, Ferguson previously wrote on social media that he was willing to face “The Eagle” at any location, regardless of any travel bans that may prevent their meeting. He said that he did not want the Russian to back out of their contest, and when Nurmagomedov did do exactly that, Ferguson laced into him.
The appearance for “El Cucuy” on SportsCenter was preceded by Nurmagomedov’s post on Instagram where the latter officially announced his withdrawal from the April 18 event. Nurmagomedov explained that he was home in quarantine, and that he was “definitely upset more than you to cancel the fight.” Despite Nurmagomedov’s regrets and the shutdown of travel in and out of Russia, Ferguson was not having it.
The promotion is racing to replace “The Eagle,” and Justin Gaethje is under consideration as a replacement option. Ferguson has expressed his willingness to keep fighting, and that “it doesn’t matter who we have. We’re gonna try to make this thing go.” To keep that fight, and the event intact, the UFC needs to select a location while the world is dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. Also, the organization will need to convince Gaethje to take the matchup, as he has turned it down this specific fight in the past on short notice, and has claimed in the past he will not take fights without full training camps.
Ferguson ended his interview by exclaiming, “he bailed out, man.”