Ferguson hinted at a move to the welterweight division by reminding Woodley that he’s a former 170-pound tournament winner.
While Tony Ferguson has cemented himself as one of the very best lightweights in the world, it’s often forgot that ‘El Cucuy’ won series 13 of The Ultimate Fighter as a welterweight.
The No. 2 ranked lightweight contender picked up several finishes on the show, knocking out Ramsey Nijem in the season finale to become the 170-pound tournament winner.
Ferguson was quick to remind UFC welterweight champion Woodley of that fact, perhaps hinting at a move back to 170 lbs. after his interim lightweight championship tilt against the undefeated Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 209.
“I heard he fired back, but you know what? He better watch out because I won The Ultimate Fighter at 170,” Ferguson said at the open workouts on Wednesday, per MMA Fighting’s Shaun Al-Shatti.
Woodley ‘fired back’ when Ferguson suggested that his fight against Nurmagomedov should take precedence over the UFC 209 main event between Woodley and Stephen Thompson. ‘The Chosen One’ said his rematch against ‘Wonderboy’ is the rightful main event because, unlike Ferguson, he’s the champion.
Although Ferguson reminded Woodley of his welterweight accomplishments, it seems the TUF 13 winner has no interest in fighting Thompson should he take home the belt at UFC 209.
The 33-year-old Ferguson has the utmost respect for Thompson and believes he will ‘beat the f*ck out of T-Woodley’ on Saturday.
“You’ve got a good guy in Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson that’s at 170. So you know what? The torch needs to be held by somebody that’s great,” Ferguson said. “Because champions are made in the dark, baby. We don’t need the lights and the spotlight. That stuff is for everybody else, man. But the people who are holding onto the torches — you’ve got Max Holloway at 145. I’m like, that’s cool, man. That’s in good hands right now. I don’t need to go to that weight class.
“One-seventy, we’re going to have ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson beat the f*ck out of T-Woodley. You know what, I’ll say that again; I hope they have a good fight, and I hope ‘Wonderboy’ wins. So that’s at 170. If that torch is held by ‘Wonderboy,’ that’s cool, I don’t have to go to 170. Because where I’m from, we got weight classes, baby, and we respect that.”
Ferguson expects to hand ‘The Eagle’ his first professional loss at UFC 209 and vows to carry the 155-pound ‘torch’ for a long time.
“So I will gladly hold the torch at 155 for a long time.”
The highly anticipated pay-per-view, which features Nurmagomedov vs. Ferguson in the co-main event and Woodley vs. Thompson in the main event, takes place March 4 at Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena.