Tony Ferguson says fan favorite Nate Diaz should retire if he doesn’t accept a fight.
Nate Diaz hasn’t fought since his blockbuster welterweight rematch with Conor McGregor at UFC 202, which saw the Californian lose a majority decision.
Diaz, 31, is the only fighter under the UFC banner to beat McGregor, submitting the Irishman in their first 170-pound bout at UFC 196, and the former lightweight title challenger will only return to the Octagon against another high-profile opponent.
Perhaps that opponent is the No. 2 ranked Tony Ferguson, who finds himself reassessing his options after Khabib Nurmagomedov pulled out of their highly anticipated interim lightweight title fight at UFC 209.
While ‘El Cucuy’ is enjoying fatherhood and spending quality time with his family, the 33-year-old doesn’t want to spend too much time on the sidelines and called out Diaz for a number one contender’s bout in a recent interview with The Las Vegas Review-Journal.
“There’s a few things we’re trying to get in order,” Ferguson said, per MMA Fighting’s Jed Meshew. “We were trying to get a fight in before Ramadan but Khabib doesn’t want to fight. He has a lot of issues going on with his stomach, so we’re trying to figure out who’s next but I don’t want to go backwards. I want to go forward and I think Nate Diaz, with his ranking at number eight, then Michael Johnson and so on and so forth, I’m kind of just chilling right now. I’m enjoying my time being a father and having fun with this stuff.”
Ferguson, a winner of The Ultimate Fighter 13, said Diaz should hang up the gloves if he doesn’t want to fight anymore.
“I’m down for the battle of California. He wants to represent 209. I’m from 805 in the Oxnard area. I think, obviously, my hands are a lot better. I think this game is about the glory and not all about the money. Obviously you have to make your piece in this industry but s**t, Nate, if you don’t want to fight, move on. Retire. Go do something else because we’re here to fight in this industry and everybody else is taken so Nate would be the next one up.”
Current UFC lightweight champion, Conor McGregor, is actively pursuing a boxing megafight against Floyd Mayweather Jr., which leaves the division without a defending champ for the foreseeable future.
Ferguson, a winner of nine straight fights, suggested that he fight Diaz for the interim title in McGregor’s absence.
“That belt. We need to fight for that belt.”
With ‘The Notorious’ and Nurmagomedov out of the lightweight title picture for the time being, an interim championship showdown between Ferguson and Diaz would make for a fantastic pay-per-view headliner.