Tony Ferguson has a simple message for Nate Diaz in UFC: 'Fight or retire'

One month removed from seeing his UFC 209 interim title bout scrapped at the last minute when Khabib Nurmagomedov was hospitalized due to a difficult weight cut, Tony Ferguson is still trying to figure out what's next. 

Ferguson (22-3), a top-rated lightweight and author of a nine-fight win streak has been unable to successfully negotiate a new date with Nurmagomedov, who is Muslim, and is closing in on the start of Ramadan in late May when he won't be able to fight. 

With most of the top contenders in the lightweight division already booked for fights while current champion Conor McGregor remains idle ahead of the birth of his first child, Ferguson had a message to share with Nate Diaz: Fight or retire. 

"I'm down for the battle of California," Ferguson told the Las Vegas Review-Journal on Monday. "He wants to represent 209, I'm from 805 in the Oxnard area. I think, obviously, my hands are a lot better. I think this game is about the glory and not all about the money. 

"Obviously you have to make your piece in this industry but s---, Nate, if you don't want to fight, move on, retire, go do something else because we're here to fight in this industry and everybody else is taken so Nate would be the next one up."

Ferguson, 33, is well aware he may not get a shot at McGregor any time soon, especially with UFC president Dana White effectively giving his blessing to McGregor to pursue a boxing superfight against retired champion Floyd Mayweather. 

"If Conor doesn't step up, they'll make an interim belt," Ferguson said. "I just think interim is a word [UFC] throws around a lot and it's going to be thrown my way. I don't think anything else is going to change right now. Conor's obviously the favorite at my weight class but I don't play favorite. I knock 'em all out. I finish them, D'arce [choke] or knockout, so it doesn't matter. 

"The division's full of guys moving up and down weight classes or guys going to fight in other sports, but we're really here. This is a shark tank. I'm a hammerhead still and you're gonna see these guys come in my division and I'm going to chew them up and spit them out. This is my division."

CBS Sports Insider

Brian Campbell covers MMA, boxing and WWE. The Connecticut native joined CBS Sports in 2017 and has covered combat sports since 2010. He has written and hosted various podcasts and digital shows for ESPN... Full Bio

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