Chael Sonnen Discusses Conor McGregor’s Next Bout, Worried Tony Ferguson Will Get “Screwed” Again
Dana White has said several times now that the winner of Tony Ferguson versus Justin Gaethje, will advance to fight Khabib Nurmagomedov. But, Chael Sonnen isn't so certain that's going to be the case.
Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje are going to fight for an interim lightweight title at UFC 249, and Dana White’s said the winner will fight the undisputed champ, Khabib Nurmagomedov next. But, Chael Sonnen believes there’s reasons to question whether or not that will indeed happen.
Sonnen’s worried Ferguson will get the “screwed” again
Ferguson was originally supposed to fight Khabib on April 18th. But, due to a coronavirus travel ban, the champion was stranded in Russia and the UFC moved ahead with Ferguson vs. Gaethje.
UFC 249 didn’t happen on that date, as a result of the pandemic, and now Ferguson – Gaethje will take place on May 9th.
Well, since the UFC announced the new date for UFC 249, White has repeated that whoever is holding the interim title will fight Khabib next.But, clearly Sonnen’s not so certain.
“I think now is the perfect time for that [Nate Diaz Trilogy fight],” Sonnen said (transcription via Denis Shkuratov). “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 Khabib-Tony 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.”
Could Sonnen be right? Well, MMA history shows us that promised title shots frequently get shelved, and as Sonnen noted, that’s already happened to Ferguson.
But, it does seem like there’s a large body of fans right now who don’t believe McGregor should jump ahead of Ferguson, or Gaethje for that matter, into a rematch with Khabib. Further, it’s hard to imagine Nurmagomedov agreeing to face McGregor, over whoever is holding the interim title.
Sonnen discusses how UFC 249 postponement has benefited Gaethje
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During the interview, Sonnen was also asked to weigh-in on how the postponement of UFC 249 will impact Gaethje’s preparation. The noted wrestler said this.
“Well, let’s back up, if this was two weeks ago like it was supposed to be, Tony Ferguson [wins], nothing to see here,” Sonnen said. “This is totally different with Gaethje getting an extra three weeks. It’s totally different.
Three of those weeks, two of them will be spent training hard. He’ll taper the last week, but so will Tony. You give a guy two weeks, and two may not sound like much, but I’m telling you, you can get into shape in two weeks. And Tony had already had three.
Now, three is not quite enough for five rounds. Three is not quite enough for everything, but it’s still not a terrible spot. Two extra weeks changes this fight.”
Yup. Hard to disagree with that. It’s going to be really fascinating to see whether Gaethje can become the first man to defeat “El Cucuy” since 2012.