Tony Ferguson has spoken out on ESPN after learning that Khabib Nurmagomedov has officially pulled out of their UFC 249 headlining lightweight title on April 18th due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“The guy does not want to fight,” Ferguson told Ariel Helwani. “He’s scared, he’s running. He should be stripped of his title.”
Ferguson went on to confirm that he had every intention of fighting him and reiterated his belief that Nurmagomedov was using an excuse to back out of having to go up against him.
“I’m more down to fight than anybody, any time, anywhere unless the circumstances are completely different. The fight’s against Khabib. This is the guy. Everybody just wants this fight. I got what he wanted to do. Obviously, he’s here, his family is back home in Dagestan, it is what you’ve to do but he had the opportunity and he did the exact same thing at UFC 209,” said Ferguson.
“He knew that he wasn’t cutting weight very good. He said it already that he was having a hard time cutting weight, focusing and doing everything else like that. To me right there, he’s running away. he ran away. He obviously knew what he could do to help save this card. He didn’t want to take any of those chances. Everybody’s taking risks. He bailed out. It’s pretty hard to explain but he bailed out.”
As for what happens next, there’s been talk that Justin Gaethje could be drafted in as a short notice replacement and Ferguson says he’s still willing to fight on the card, regardless of the opponent.
“It doesn’t matter who we have. We’re gonna try to make this thing go,” Ferguson said. “At least some of the people in the world have a little bit of hope. The guys that are really doing it are the doctors and the nurses and the people taking care of everybody. If we can do our little bit of part to try and make something happen, I’m down with that.”