On the road to recovery from knee surgery that forced him out of his long-awaited title fight with Khabib Nurmagomedov at April 7’s UFC 223, former interim UFC lightweight champion Tony Ferguson is understandably a little miffed.
He had his belt stripped after tearing a ligament while fulfilling UFC-mandated media obligations for the fight and then saw longtime rival Nurmagomedov win the belt against Al Iaquinta, his fifth potential opponent that week after “El Cucuy,” Max Holloway, Anthony Pettis, and Paul Felder were all unable to face ‘The Eagle’ for one reason or another.
Ferguson took his disdain to social media this week, calling out Nurmagomedov for winning his title versus a “non-full time fighter real estate agent (poking fun at Iaquinta’s growing New York business)” to win the title.
To him, the scenario in which he was stripped of the title was like a current dilemma with middleweight champion Robert Whittaker where the 185-pound titleholder was able to keep his belt:
.Beats a non-full time fighter real estate agent ranked #11 on @ufc roster, and I get Stripped when same thing happened to @rjwhittaker1990 @teamkhabib run til’ November #PaperChump 👊😎🇺🇸🏆🇲🇽 https://t.co/es3xBJEPSR
— Tony Ferguson (@TonyFergusonXT) April 24, 2018
The always brutally honest Iaquinta was quick to respond today, shutting down Ferguson with a quick quip about why Whittaker was allowed to keep the title when he wasn’t:
the ufc stripped you cause your a weirdo and Whittaker isn’t
— Al Iaquinta🗽 (@ALIAQUINTA) April 24, 2018
Ouch. Not the most technical assessment of the situation, but nevertheless one that will almost certainly resonate through today’s MMA Twitterverse.
Iaquinta showed a ton of heart and toughness in taking on arguably the best lightweight in the UFC, and even though he was ultimately dominated, his star is undoubtedly trending upwards for his effort.
A few more callouts of higher-ranked fighters and that could snowball even more for the Long Island real estate agent.