LOS ANGELES — Tony Ferguson is having some major mixed feelings about being in the main event at UFC 216 next week in Las Vegas. He knows he deserves to be there and his interim lightweight title fight against Kevin Lee was the original headliner of the Oct. 7 card at T-Mobile Arena.
However, just two weeks ago a flyweight title fight between champion Demetrious Johnson and Ray Borg was added to the bill. Johnson is arguably the top pound-for-pound fighter in the world and if he beats Borg he’ll set the UFC’s all-time record of most consecutive title defenses (11).
When Ferguson heard that Johnson vs. Borg was going to be the co-main event — not the headliner — in favor of his fight with Lee, he was not excited. Just the opposite.
“I was upset, I was upset,” Ferguson said Thursday during a UFC 216 media lunch. “I was gonna write Johnson a note and tell him and be like, ‘Hey man, I feel f*cking terrible for you.’ Shit, I’m not getting any [pay-per-view] points on this stuff. So you know what, why? Why would you make me the main event?
“I’m an entertaining fighter. I’m gonna be always the main event.”
It isn’t that Ferguson doesn’t think he should be in the main event against Lee, nor is he saying Johnson deserves it more. But “El Cucuy” has positioned himself as a champion for the meritocracy of MMA and he’s having some issues with his feelings on the topic.
“What I’m saying is something along the lines of righteousness and right rankings and virtue has got skipped,” Ferguson said. “I’m here to remind everybody.”
Ferguson, 33, has similar feelings about a potential third fight between Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz being next on the UFC’s docket. McGregor is the lightweight champion and if Ferguson beats Lee, Ferguson becomes the interim champion. Traditionally, that means McGregor vs. Ferguson would be the next fight for the UFC to make. But McGregor vs. Diaz 3 is a bigger moneymaker — the first two fights were among the top three in pay-per-view revenue in UFC history.
“Pieces of shit,” Ferguson said. “F*ck that. Straight up. Rankings go out the f*cking window, everything else that they stand for, but it ain’t gonna change what I do. I don’t really give two fucks. It’s gonna be on their conscience and it’s gonna be on theirs. When the time comes, I’ll make them feel guilty.”
Ferguson (22-3) said he has not spoken up about this directly to UFC brass. But he knows they’re listening.
“I’m sure they’ll hear it now,” he said.