Monday, June 27, 2022

Tony Ferguson Explains Turning Down Max Holloway

UFC 242 will feature the long-awaited return of UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, who will defend his championship against Dustin Poirier as the event’s headliner. That defense could have very well been against Tony Ferguson, as it was Ferguson who was originally offered to fight Max Holloway for the interim lightweight championship at UFC 236, not Poirier. Ferguson declined the fight, allowing Poirier to step in, earn the victory over Holloway, and thereby crown himself the interim lightweight champion. But rumors of Ferguson turning down the fight are greatly exaggerated according to the man himself (Transcript via MMA Fighting):

“I was coached to say ‘no,’ Ferguson said of the Holloway fighter offer. “I’ll be real with you guys, when have you guys ever known me to say ‘no’ to a fight,” Ferguson said. “Literally, this is a round robin tournament. It’s not one of those bracket final four ones anymore. … Seriously, straight up, you can try your best to win the title. I won the title. It got taken from me, a guy like Robert Whittaker got hurt, same f*ckin’ way. There’s politics in that shit. I got an Ultimate Fighter trophy, which hardly any of these dudes that are holding a belt have. I’ve got a title belt.”

After the Holloway/Ferguson fight fell through, speculation began that Tony Ferguson’s publicized mental health issues might spell the end of his fighting career. Tony Ferguson had no such concerns:

 “Not even one time that crossed my mind,” Ferguson said. “I’ve been here since The Ultimate Fighter, since 2011, even before then since I had my first loss, I met my wife. Had good, bad things happen, you have to look at the good side of things and my faith has kept me so strong, you have no idea. I thank God everyday, and I thank my family for being there.”

Tony Ferguson may not be next in line for a title shot as he may have been had he faced Max Holloway, but he could just the same be one fight away from it should he defeat Donald Cerrone this Saturday at UFC 238.

Did you think we’d see Tony Ferguson compete this year after the Ferguson camp turned down the Max Holloway fight?

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