UFC's Tony Ferguson Open to Fighting Conor McGregor, Dustin Poirier in Return

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJuly 29, 2020

Justin Gaethje, right, ducks from a punch by Tony Ferguson, left, during a UFC 249 mixed martial arts bout, Saturday, May 9, 2020, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
John Raoux/Associated Press

UFC lightweight competitor Tony Ferguson is open to a couple of big-time fights in the near future, including clashes with Conor McGregor or Dustin Poirier. 

Ferguson discussed his ideas for his next fight during an appearance on Ariel Helwani's MMA Show on ESPN:

The 36-year-old Ferguson also suggested the winner of a fight between himself and either McGregor or Poirier could then go on to face whoever prevails between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Justin Gaethje in their upcoming UFC Lightweight Championship fight.

Ferguson was originally slated to fight Khabib for the UFC Lightweight title at UFC 249, but with the latter unable to leave Russia due to travel restrictions brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, Ferguson fought Gaethje for the interim title instead.

Gaethje prevailed by virtue of fifth-round technical knockout, which dropped Ferguson's professional record to 25-4 and marked his first loss since 2012.

UFC President Dana White announced Tuesday that Khabib and Gaethje will meet at UFC 255 on Oct. 24 with the winner leaving as UFC Lightweight champion.

With regard to Ferguson's desired opponents, both would be first-time fights and could mean big business for UFC.

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McGregor coming out of retirement once again would be a big deal regardless of who he faces, and a bout with Ferguson would likely be even more highly anticipated than his most recent fight against Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone at UFC 246 in January.

McGregor won that bout handily by first-round TKO, but it is possible that he would be the underdog against Ferguson.

Poirier is coming off a win over Dan Hooker last month, but he lost his previous fight to Khabib at UFC 242 last year. Poirier would likely love another shot at Khabib, and a win over Ferguson would be the fastest route to get there provided Khabib beats Gaethje.

McGregor also has history with Khabib, having lost by fourth-round submission at UFC 229 in 2018.

The depth and talent in UFC's lightweight division is unmatched, and with Ferguson being just one step below vying for the UFC Lightweight Championship, he figures to be an attractive opponent for anyone who wants a shot at the title in the near future.

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