Tony Ferguson to Khabib Nurmagomedov: 'Let's give the crowd what they want'

Sonnen blames Nurmagomedov for 'lack of discipline' (0:56)

Chael Sonnen and Gilbert Melendez give the fighter's perspective on Khabib Nurmagomedov being hospitalized for weight-cutting issues that forced the cancellation of his interim title bout against Tony Ferguson at UFC 209. (0:56)

As cursed as the matchup seems to be, Tony Ferguson is still willing to accept an interim UFC title fight against Khabib Nurmagomedov -- on two conditions.

If Nurmagomedov fails to make weight, as he did last week prior to their scheduled fight at UFC 209, Ferguson is to be immediately crowned interim champion and paid his full contracted purse. Put that in writing, and Ferguson (22-3) says he'll sign.

"The terms have got to be fair, with assurances that if he doesn't make weight, that's my belt," Ferguson told ESPN.com on Monday. "And my show money, and my win money."

The UFC has attempted to hold a fight between Nurmagomedov (24-0) and Ferguson (22-3) on three separate occasions. Nurmagomedov was forced to pull out of a fight in late 2015 with an injury; Ferguson did the same in 2016.

It appeared the fight was finally going to happen last weekend, until Nurmagomedov was hospitalized the day before with medical complications during his weight cut. The fight was canceled that morning.

Ferguson, 33, is still reeling from the turn in events. According to Nevada State Athletic Commission figures, Ferguson was scheduled to make a base of $250,000, with an additional $250,000 win bonus. Because the bout didn't happen, he could ultimately receive a fraction of that.

"I feel I should get my [$250,000] show money," Ferguson said. "It is what it is. It stinks. But I think I should get my show money, so we can move forward and let's give the crowd what they want. This is a badass fight. I'm willing to go, but it has to be fair terms. If I choose to fight Khabib again, we have to have assurances."

If the UFC wants to book the fight, it might need to act soon. Nurmagomedov observes the annual Muslim fasting period of Ramadan, which extends from May 26 to June 25 this year.

For the fight to occur before Nurmagomedov takes that break, the latest date it would likely be added to is UFC 211 on May 13 in Dallas.

Ferguson said he's willing to fight Nurmagomedov under the special conditions he put forth, or possibly former lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez -- as long as there is an interim title on the line.

Of course, Ferguson also would take lightweight champion Conor McGregor, but it's currently not clear when McGregor intends to fight again.

"The only other option for an interim title would be Eddie Alvarez, and it doesn't sound like he wants to fight me any time soon," Ferguson said.

"I would love to fight Conor, but I'm not waiting. Honestly, if you have the title, you need to fight for it. ... He's saying he wants to box. Why don't you defend [your title] for once? I know he wants money fights, but he doesn't want to lose. He wants to save face."

In a social media post last week, Ferguson wished Nurmagomedov a quick recovery. He said Monday that he did not want to attack the Dagestani fighter, but Ferguson did say he felt the weight issue was unprofessional.

"He needs to take that as a loss," Ferguson said. "He's 24-1 now. If you don't show up, you lose. In football, you have games on a schedule. You take that loss. Right now, I feel he deserves that loss."