Chael Sonnen has laid out a warning that there is a possibility of Tony Ferguson getting screwed out of a title shot later this year.
Ferguson is set to face Justin Gaethje for the interim lightweight title at UFC 249 on May 9. He was initially supposed to face Khabib Nurmagomedov for the undisputed title until the latter was ruled out due to government travel restrictions in Russia amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
That meant it was the fifth time a dream fight between the pair had to be called off and if Ferguson defeats Gaethje next month, the UFC will attempt to book it again for a sixth time later this year.
However, it is no secret that the UFC was also hoping for the fight to take place in April so that the winner — ideally Nurmagomedov — would face off against Conor McGregor in a lucrative rematch later this year.
Would the UFC attempt to book the rematch even if Ferguson wins the interim title again? It’s a possibility given McGregor’s star power which is why Sonnen prefers for the Irishman to face Nate Diaz in a trilogy fight to keep him busy.
“I think now is the perfect time for that [Nate Diaz trilogy],” Sonnen told Submission Radio. “And look, I know everything that’s been said is we’re going to keep Conor on ice and we’re gonna put him against Khabib, the winner of Tony and Khabib in September. But of course, that was believing that Khabib was going to win.
“You have to understand, if that is still the plan, then that means we’re getting ready to pull the screw job on Tony a second time. They have promised Tony an interim title fight for the second time. The first time he did it. He never lost it. And all of a sudden that belt is gone. We as fans cannot allow that to happen. If Tony comes out of this thing, Tony needs to be fighting Khabib. And if at some point they try to slide in Conor, which is likely, maybe not likely, but possible, that means we screwed Tony a second time. We can’t let that happen.”
That said, UFC president Dana White has confirmed that the winner of the interim lightweight title fight will face Nurmagomedov later this year.
We’ll just have to see if he sticks by his words.
Do you think Ferguson will face Nurmagomedov if he gets past Gaethje? Or will McGregor find a way to get the next shot?