LAS VEGAS – Tony Ferguson (11-2 MMA, 1-0 UFC) may not be a welterweight forever, but while he is, he'd like to take on Amir Sadollah.
Following Saturday night's knockout win in the main event of The Ultimate Fighter 13 Finale, Ferguson admitted a return trip to the lightweight division could potentially loom in his future. But until he makes that call, Ferguson will eye opponents at 170 pounds, and he's already got one in mind.
"I saw Amir Sadollah over there, and I knew that he was a pretty big guy that was from 'The Ultimate Fighter,'" Ferguson said. "I think that would be a pretty good little start right there."
Of course, Sadollah already has a bout lined up for August, so Ferguson might have to put his plans on hold. Either way, he'll have a little bit of time to celebrate his victory over Ramsey Nijem at Saturday's Spike TV-broadcast event.
The matchup started out as a closely contested affair, with Nijem giving as much as he took, but Ferguson took over as the final minute of the opening round neared.
"I knew that he wasn't expecting me to go for a takedown, and that's exactly what we were practicing over at Team DeathClutch in Alexandria," Ferguson told MMAjunkie.com (UFC blog for UFC news, UFC rumors, fighter interviews and event previews/recaps | MMAjunkie.com
). "I've always had hands, but I kind of forgot that I was a wrestler. If you guys saw my first fight in the house, I got taken down twice. I knew that he was going to expect to put a lot of pressure on me, so I took that in stride and remembered not to panic when he came at me.
"I knew that when he came at me, I needed to watch out for some knees and stuff. I knew he was going to be kind of sporadic, going all over the place, so I had my takedowns and tried to slow it down a little bit more."
Once Ferguson felt he was dictating the pace, he said he started to listen for suggestions from his coaches. Confident after fighting through a few big shots from his opponent, Ferguson saw the opening he needed and heeded his cornermen's instructions.
"He popped me a couple of times," Ferguson admitted. "If you guys saw, I had to shake it out a little bit. It kind of reminded me of being back in high school and playing football. You shake it out, and you have to find the play and find out where that ball is. That's what I did. I headhunted.
"I tried to move around a little bit, slip some punches. I heard my coach saying, 'Throw that hook out there. He's going to leave his hands out there.' That's exactly what I did. I tried to throw a three-punch combo, but that left hook got him straight on the ground, and I finished him."
The end came at the 3:54 mark of the opening round, and the win scored Ferguson the vaunted "six-figure contract," as well as the title of "TUF 13" champion.
But is Ferguson at home at welterweight? After all, "El Cucuy" competed at 155 pounds just two fights prior to his stint on "TUF 13."
Ferguson said he's open to suggestions from his bosses Dana White and Joe Silva, but he's getting used to life at 170 pounds.
"It depends on where everybody wants me to fight," Ferguson said. If Dana wants me to fight (at lightweight), I fought David Gardener at 155 pounds. I did really good. I'm a big 155-pounder, but I like 170 pounds. I wrestled in college at 165 pounds. I bumped up to 184 pounds for my team, but I'm comfortable where I'm at right now.
"I like food. I like eating, and I like lifting. My girl likes me a lot better at 170 pounds. I'm kind of crabby at 155 pounds. I can definitely see myself going lightweight, but I love welterweight."
In short, Ferguson doesn't know exactly what's going to come next. For now, it's just time to celebrate, and when UFC brass gives the order, Ferguson insists he'll be ready to go.
"It doesn't matter who gets put in front of me," Ferguson said. "I have great coaches that are going to get me ready for it.
"It took me a little bit to get used to being in front of everybody, but I think I belong here. I know I do. I've got the trophy now to prove it."