One of the most highly-anticipated fights in a while disappeared before our eyes today when Khabib Nurmagomedov was forced out of his UFC 209 interim lightweight title bout with Tony Ferguson due to weight cutting issues. There was still a chance that Ferguson might have remained on the card, as a bout with Michael Johnson seemed to be in the process of coming together.
Unfortunately though, it never got finished. Johnson took to Twitter to say that he was down, but Ferguson ultimately turned down the fight:
I was ready and willing!! To make that title weight for last minute. Unfortunately @TonyFergusonXT declined it. Catch ya around next time!— Michael Johnson (@FollowTheMenace) March 3, 2017
To his credit, Ferguson responded to Johnson’s message and explained exactly why he couldn’t take the fight. Namely, the lack of a title and a lower salary:
Johnson handed Ferguson his only loss in the UFC back in 2012, where Ferguson broke his arm in the first round and dropped a decision.
It’s completely unclear what will happen now in terms of the interim lightweight title and what the promotion will do with Nurmagomedov and Ferguson. But no matter what, UFC 209 doesn’t have the same appeal as it did 24 hours ago.