A major announcement was made last week when the rescheduling of the long-awaited fight between Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov was set to headline UFC 223. What was not made clear, however, were the fight stipulations, and if the two would be fighting for the interim or undisputed title.
UFC president Dana White did say during the UFC 220 weigh-ins that the fight between Khabib and Ferguson would be for the undisputed title while refusing to confirm that Conor McGregor would subsequently be stripped of the belt. This has caused some disarray, particularly on the side of “El Cucuy.”
“It bothers the sh-t out of me, dude. Straight up,” Ferguson said on Monday’s episode of The MMA Hour (via MMA Fighting). “I’m the f----ng champ and we don’t know if we’re fighting for the real belt or not. What the f--k is that?”
“Dana White is telling us one thing on one [side] of the curtain and on the other side, he’s saying, ‘No, Conor McGregor is the champion. Go and do your homework.’ And I love Dana, man, but I’m like, ‘What the f--k, dude? Am I not the champ or am I the champ? Do you want to hype me up or do you not want to hype me up for this fight?’”
While the situation does not sit too well with Ferguson, he is, at the very least pleased about his new fight date with Khabib.
“Trust me, this whole situation … it kinda sucks,” he said. “But I’ve been excited about this fight for a very long time. I don’t want to fight against somebody that doesn’t want to fight, as I’ve said before. But once the fight was decided and my opponent was given, my main focus is on the guy in front of me.”
“To me, this is the real fight, this is for the real belt. I’m the current champ. I might not always be given the respect that I should have, but it’s what fuels me. I can’t be ignored forever, and I’m going to derail this hype train. I’m going to clip that eagle’s wings.”
UFC 223 will take place on April 7th at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.