With the return of Conor McGregor looming in the distance, the UFC lightweight division is already beginning to get a little chippy. Top contenders like Tony Ferguson, Kevin Lee, Khabib Nurmagomedov, and Justin Gaethje are all jockeying for position one way or another.
For Ferguson, his quickest chance to lock down a bout with McGregor is to defeat Lee at UFC 216 on Oct. 7 live on pay-per-view (PPV) from inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, and claim the interim lightweight title. For Gaethje, his quickest opportunity to earn a title shot is to defeat former champion Eddie Alvarez at UFC 218 on Dec. 2 in Detroit, Mich., and then lobby for a No. 1 contender’s bout.
While Ferguson and Gaethje are currently on different paths towards UFC gold, the two lightweight contenders locked horns on social media this week while weighing in on a simple poll. Gaethje struck first, referencing the ankle pick threat “El Cucuy” threw Fabricio Werdum’s way during a UFC 216 media lunch altercation.
Who would win? @TonyFergusonXT vs @Justin_Gaethje
— UFC Polls (@polls_UFC) September 29, 2017
I would break his fucken legs
— Justin Gaethje (@Justin_Gaethje) September 29, 2017
As one of the more outspoken members of the UFC roster, Ferguson wasted little time responding to “Highlight” and offering his own smack talk.
“Go For It…” I’ll End Your Career You Fake Fucker. Quit Tryin’ To Be Relevant. More Respect For The Up & Coming Fighters Being Real. https://t.co/EDVI4ASlXD
— Tony Ferguson (@TonyFergusonXT) September 30, 2017
Fight fans have to love this. While Ferguson and Gaethje are two confident alpha males who have produced of late inside of the Octagon, their efforts are sure to ramp up now that the UFC lightweight champion is back in town.
Winning fights and performing well will always outweigh trash talking, especially the social media kind, but this only builds the intrigue fight fans will have for Ferguson’s upcoming battle with Lee at UFC 216, Gaethje’s Fight of the Night favorite against Alvarez in December, and everything relating to the 155-pound title picture.