Tony Ferguson is gearing up for a return to the Octagon.
Following his fifth-round TKO loss to Justin Gaethje at UFC 249 in May, the former interim lightweight champion said Tuesday he "absolutely" plans to fight before the end of 2020.
"Sign me up," Ferguson told ESPN's Ariel Helwani. "I'm ready. I'm good to go."
That defeat to Gaethje was Ferguson's first since 2012, and it snapped his 12-fight winning streak. "El Cucuy" was originally scheduled to face Khabib Nurmagomedov for the undisputed belt in April but ended up agreeing to fight short-notice replacement Gaethje for the interim title due to coronavirus-related travel restrictions.
Now, Ferguson wants a rematch versus Gaethje - or to fight the winner of his title-unification bout against Nurmagomedov, which is scheduled for Oct. 24.
"Those are the top quality fights that we want to see," Ferguson said. "I don't want to waste any fights."
If Ferguson waits to fight the winner of Nurmagomedov-Gaethje, his wish of competing before the end of the year may not come true. The 36-year-old said it would be "nice" to fight on the same card as that title bout, and would be open to No. 1 contender matchups against former two-division champ Conor McGregor and ex-interim titleholder Dustin Poirier.
"They're both decent fighters, man," Ferguson said. "They're both good. We're all elite and top five for a reason ... If Conor wants to fight, I'm down for that. I'd love to fight a southpaw, I'd do really well.
"You want to give me Conor, you give me Conor. You want to give me Poirier, we'll make it happen, and then we'll fight, and then we'll fight for the winner of the Gaethje and Khabib fight," Ferguson added.