Tony Ferguson still wants his shot at the UFC lightweight title so if Khabib Nurmagomedov is no longer an option, he’s targeting Nate Diaz instead.
Ferguson appeared on the latest episode of “UFC Tonight” where he once again requested that current lightweight champ Conor McGregor vacate his belt if he’s going to continue to pursue a boxing match with Floyd Mayweather later this year.
With McGregor out of the way, Ferguson would then like to challenge Diaz to a fight to crown a new champion at 155 pounds.
“Vacate the belt right now, drop it, leave it where it’s at and we’ll fight for the title belt International Fight Week. I know the only person I would like to go toe-to-toe with that probably needs some [talking to] is Nate Diaz,” Ferguson said.
“I’d love to go toe-to-toe with him. For anybody else that’s out there, they don’t really deserve a shot at fighting with me. Myself, the fans, everybody else would love to see that fight. Battle of California. Let’s do this.”
Diaz hasn’t fought since he lost a razor close majority decision to McGregor last August and that was one fight after he choked out the future lightweight champion at UFC 196.
Diaz hasn’t been enticed to accept another fight since that time, but a shot at a title against Ferguson might just be the carrot on a stick he’s willing to chase.
As far as a future bout with Nurmagomedov goes, Ferguson is still game to settle that rivalry but it would probably have to come with more financial assurances if the fight fell apart again in the 11th hour.
The last bout between the two top ranked lightweights was scrapped a day before UFC 209 when Nurmagomedov ended up in the hospital after suffering through a brutal weight cut to get down to the 155-pound limit.
“I think I would love to have the fight,” Ferguson said about Nurmagomedov. “Putting up with the whole entire camp again and going through all the battles again, just puts a salty taste in my mouth. It’s like going out and swimming in the ocean. You know it’s good for you but it puts that taste in your mouth. It’s like the Khabib fight where I can correlate that because it’s a fight that I want. I want this fight, the fans want this fight. It’s something where I wouldn’t mind training again for it.
“It would have to be some assurance for it because I love getting my hands wrapped. I love having that feeling of being able to sling on that leather, that new smell that you get. You walk outside into the cage and into the arena where you see thousands of fans going crazy or they’re booing, doesn’t matter whatever it is. But the fact is putting on that leather and going in there and slinging it, especially against Khabib, I would love to.”