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UFC 229’s Tony Ferguson on being stripped of interim title: I’m still ‘the f-cking champ’

Tony Ferguson is going into UFC 229 with the mindset up a champion.

Former UFC interim lightweight champion Tony Ferguson hasn’t had the best year, but ‘El Cucuy’ is hoping to turn things around at UFC 229.

The top-ranked lightweight contender suffered a freak injury (he tripped over a wire in-studio and tore a ligament in his knee) just days before his scheduled bout with Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 223 and was forced out of the main event at the last minute.

To rub salt in the wound, the UFC stripped him of the interim lightweight title a few days later and the fight promotion seems to have all but forgotten Ferguson in the lead-up to his comeback fight against Anthony Pettis at UFC 229.

Speaking at a recent media scrum in Las Vegas, Ferguson didn’t mince words about his relationship with the UFC.

“It’s been five months since my injury,” Ferguson said Tuesday at a media day at the UFC Performance Institute, per MMA Fighting’s Marc Raimondi. “It took a long f*cking time for me to be here. They took my belt, they took a bunch of zeroes from my pay check. How do you think I f*cking feel? It’s all fun and games, right?”

Although he’s officially been stripped of the belt, Ferguson still feels he’s the rightful champ and, despite having a chip on his shoulder, the 34-year-old is all smiles ahead of his co-headlining bout with ‘Showtime’ on Saturday.

“I’m the f*cking champ,” Ferguson said. “See this gold right here. I didn’t lose my belt. They took it from me. The one thing they didn’t take is my smile. So after my surgery, I made a conscious decision to not want anybody else’s help that didn’t want to help me. So yeah, I’ve got a little chip on my shoulder. It’s still there. It f*cking weighs a lot. But in this whole entire process, I gained so much more than you guys would ever imagine.”

Speaking of the main event between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor, Ferguson is hoping for a double knockout.

“Double knockout,” Ferguson said. “I’m gonna keep saying it this whole entire time. I hope these bitches knock each other out. They took enough shit, f*ck it. I hope they deal with what they gotta deal with and squash this shit. This is a man’s sport. We’re trying to clean this shit up, yet you got these two knuckleheads going out there and making an ass out of themselves. So, whatever. You want me to cut a promo? You’re talking to the wrong guy. Talk to these guys.”

The highly anticipated UFC 229 pay-per-view takes place this Saturday, October 6 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.