"This guy's got an issue and his name is Tony Ferguson... it's hunting season"
No better man to get the juices flowing for a big fight.
Tony Ferguson is primed for 'hunting season' and he has his sights set on UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.
'El Cucuy' is on an 12-fight winning streak and has long been the No.1 contender in the 155lbs division. Ferguson's knee injury and Nurmagomedov's suspension, following the UFC 229 post-fight brawl, has drawn out this highly anticipated bout but both men have signed on for a fight, next April, at The Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
The UFC has tried to get these two men in The Octagon on four occasions but injuries and weight cut issues have scuppered the best laid of plans.
Every fight fan out there will be crossing their fingers as this title fight nears and it is the fight of the first quarter of 2020. Conor McGregor is coming back against Donald Cerrone in mid January and that may sell more pay-per-views, but MMA followers will be keenly tracking Ferguson vs. Nurmagomedov as April gets ever closer.
In his first interview since signing his bout agreement, Ferguson cut one hell of a promo on Ariel Helwani's MMA Show. Dismissing the concerns of those that feel he will never step foot in The Octagon with 'The Eagle', Ferguson invited fans to get on board the train or 'go watch Bellator'.
"Circle the date... There's going to be fireworks on April 18. I'm going to make sure of that. I'm going to give Khabib two to the chops and he's going to give me 20 push-ups."
"Don't even get the fans going on that shit," he continued. "Seriously, I love you guys and I want to set that pace right now. I want their encouragement. Everyone that's like, 'Oh this is cursed,' f*** you! Don't watch this stuff, we don't want you. Go watch Bellator or some other bullshit. Go find some knock-off copy of what we've got going on here.
"This is the O.Gs. I'm the original genius here. These guys right here, you wanna try and be gangster, or some shit like that, hey, you've got to answer to me, Khabib. Right here, toe-to-toe motherf*****. And we're gonna go."
Tony Ferguson, who had to pull out of a undisputed title fight against Nurmagomedov in April 2018 after tripping over a television camera cable, returned to the UFC in October 2018 and has since had two 'Fight of the Night' wins over Anthony Pettis and Donald Cerrone. In both fights, his opponent was forced to stop after sustaining a barrage of strikes from the 35-year-old.
Ferguson says he is 'going to keep poking the bear' to ensure Nurmagomedov makes it to The Octagon next April. He claims that he will make the champion bloody and that he will take him to deep, deep waters. He doubts the Dagestani will want a rematch after he finishes with him in Brooklyn.
"This guy's got an issue and his name is Tony Ferguson, and I'm coming after him. It's hunting season, baby!" He added:
"He's going to understand. He's going to go through the holidays and he's going to be wondering about me. I'm going to be in his head again. He's going to have a lot on his plate, and I think they got a little too arrogant with the way they handled things.
"I'm in this dude's head. He's going to train so hard and he's going to be so nervous that he's going to make a mistake. I'm going to capitalise on that. I'm going to catch him during the scramble."
As for the Cerrone vs. McGregor fight, Ferguson believes 'Cowboy' could drop the Dubliner if he connects with a couple of his high kicks and he expects both men to come out guns ablazin'.
"As I always say," he remarked, "I'll for a double knock-out."