Lightweight contender Tony Ferguson has publicly called out rival Conor McGregor for the first time since his brutal defeat to Justin Gaethje at UFC 249, repeating his claim that the Irishman is soft via a social media animation.
The former interim champion showed himself running with a wolf and a bear before producing an animation changing the look of a title scene from video game Grand Theft Auto to namecheck his private Snapdown City gym in Los Angeles where he trains before fights.
He then used the callout video to variously portray himself as a bloodied gangster, chart topper Drake and the grim reaper selecting opponents from a lineup of UFC fighters with their faces on doors in a corridor.
His sequence imitating the rapper showed Ferguson looking down at a takeaway box of Chicken McNuggets – namechecking his favorite putdown to McGregor, which he once explained he had dreamed up because his adversary was “made of that fake sh*t – that pink stuff from McDonald’s that nobody wants.”
Ferguson’s frequent claim that McGregor’s hunger and drive has long departed seemed to be supported by the former featherweight and lightweight title holder’s remarks after he casually announced his plans to retire on June 7.
McGregor insisted he was “bored” and that there was “nothing really there” in terms of potential opponents, although he said he would have taken on Gaethje at ‘Fight Island’ on July 11 had he been able to reach agreement with the UFC.
Last week, McGregor told fans he was “living the retired life the proper way” alongside a self-portrait showing him drinking whiskey on a boat, fueling cynicism from commentators who suspect his announcement has been designed to increase his bargaining power for a return to the sport.
Ferguson supporters and critics reacted with praise and derision towards the clip, which included a shot of McGregor looking at a picture of the fighter known as El Cucuy while the American lurked with a baseball bat.
“I feel like if Justin Gaethje can do as much damage to Ferguson as he did, he really should be more careful when addressing ‘McNuggets’, who is a far more elite boxer,” wrote one, recalling Gaethje’s dominant performance that hospitalized the 36-year-old following his fifth-round defeat.
I feel like if Justin Gaethje can do as much damage to Ferguson as he did, he really should be more careful when addressing “McNuggets”, who is an even far more elite boxer. @TheNotoriousMMA
— Luis (@luisgoicochear) June 15, 2020
It’s a fight we all wanna see. Would love to see @TeamKhabib try and deal with your pressure. We all know he’s running from you though
— Lee Jenner (@leejenner1991) June 15, 2020
Another suggested he should aim for lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, adding: “It’s a fight we all want to see.
“Would love to see Khabib try to deal with your pressure. We all know he’s running from you, though.”