In a recent interview, Tony Ferguson revealed that he is open to whoever will fight him next inside the cage. He said that all the things he’ll be doing inside the octagon will eventually lead him to the MMA opportunity that he desires, no matter how long it takes.
“If (dos Anjos) wins or loses, it doesn’t matte. I’m perfectly fine taking this step by step. Whatever I’m doing is working, and if they want to give me a title shot, that’s awesome. But I like scaring the hell out of the division, personally. I don’t think anyone wants to sign up and fight me right away. They’re going to have to start thinking about what route they’re going to try get to the belt to avoid me. But it’s not happening. I’m coming. I’ve got every single one of their numbers,” Ferguson said.
Ferguson, who has a record of 20-3 MMA and 10-1 UFC, was supposed to fight Khabib Nurmagomedov during the finale of The Ultimate Fighter 22 last Friday. The event was held at The Chelsea at The Cosmopolitan in Nevada. Nurmagomedov, who is holding an impressive record of 22-0 MMA, 6-0 UFC, should have been an interesting opponent because he has impeccable wrestling skills. Unfortunately, he had an injury that forced him out of the bout. Nurmagomedov was replaced by expert striker, Barboza, who has a record of 16-4 MMA and 10-4 UFC.
“I had a perfect camp for a Sambo-type fighter, and then they wanted to throw a sharpshooter at me. So I was like, all right, we’ll change the game up a little bit. But my plan wasn’t anything different: I was going to go in and submit the dude,” he said.
Victory didn’t come easily for Ferguson though. He struggled inside the cage quite a bit, receiving Barboza’s blows that came one after another. By the end of the first round, Ferguson was slowly gearing towards the losing side of the bout even though he tried his best to counter all the blows while getting some points for himself.
Losing to Barboza might result to Ferguson losing his opportunity to go against the title he lost back in 2012.
Ferguson, however, didn’t seem to be too affected with what’s happening. In fact, he didn’t even think he faced a lot of blows in the bout, even though the facts stated otherwise.
“It’s a fight. You’re going to get hit. You’re going to hit people, and that’s what going to happen. I just knew Edson wasn’t going to break me before he did. I knew he was going to break mentally, and that was the game plan,” Ferguson said.
Ferguson went home with a rare dual-bonus that night. The MMA promotion company awarded him “Fight of the Night” and “Performance of the Night” and received $50,000 each award.
Just like other fights, Ferguson’s family thought that these prizes were too little in comparison to the damages Ferguson faced.
“They don’t get worried for me because they see me train this way day in and day out. The fight is the fun part for me. That’s the easy part. The training and coming home and going through all the B.S., icing, having to take epsom salt baths, the 80-some pills I have to take a damn day because after putting your body through hell, you have to put in vitamins and nutrients. I can understand how Georges St-Pierre became OCD, because in order to be a champ, you have to take the necessary steps,” he explained.