If Conor McGregor – Nate Diaz III happens in the coming months, as many expect it will, Tony Ferguson’s not going to be very happy about it. In fact, “El Cucuy” believes that ultimately, it will be bad for the sport.
Although Diaz isn’t ranked in the top five of the UFC’s lightweight division, the consensus is that McGregor will face his rival for a third time, in his next bout. The argument being that the two each hold a win over each other, and that it’s the biggest payday the UFC can deliver McGregor right now. Since the Irish star may have made over $100 million to box Floyd Mayweather, that’s kind of important.
Meanwhile, Ferguson is preparing to fight Kevin Lee for the interim, lightweight title next Saturday at UFC 216. During a media call to promote the bout, the ridiculously talented fighter had this to say about all the McGregor – Diaz III talk (quote via MMA Fighting):
“This has been my division before McNuggets even stepped into this b*tch,” Ferguson said. “Even when I was at Paradigm Sports Management, he signed up at 145 pounds. The agreement was he wasn’t going to come up to 155 pounds, but that raised a conflict of interest and I’m pissed, so that b*tch needs to fight me or he needs to fight the guy that’s holding the belt.
“I mean, really? You have rankings for a reason,” Ferguson added. “You have an interim belt for a reason — so you can unify the thing. The guy (Diaz) is what, a top-10 (lightweight)? Not even a top-five? Kevin Lee’s got more heart than Nate, and I have more heart than this whole entire division. So if they want to put that fight together, then that’s great, but you know the fans will be pissed, because obviously they know that f*cking Diaz and Conor is going to make a lot of money, but the real righteous thing to do is to make sure the belts become unified. That’s what really needs to happen.”
Now, if you’re a hardcore fan and a purist when it comes to MMA, you likely agree with much of Ferguson’s take here. Sure, you’ll watch McGregor – Diaz III, but, if we believe in rankings and belts, the star should really face the winner of Ferguson – Lee. Consider all the heat Michael Bisping has taken for not fighting Robert Whittaker next.
It’s been interesting to see what a rubber match with Diaz is back in play really. After they fought for a second time, McGregor said a third bout would have to come down the line. Sure, it’s been over a year since the rematch, but McGregor’s fought just once in the Octagon since then. Prior to his boxing match with Floyd Mayweather, McGregor expressed an interest in fighting Khabib Nurmagomedov as well.