UFC President Dana White confirmed on Monday on Instagram that a new title fight was set for UFC 249 after the planned lightweight title fight between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson was unable to go ahead due to travel complications caused by the COVID-19 virus. Now, Ferguson will be fighting Justin Gaethje for the interim lightweight belt on April 18th at UFC 249.
Tony Ferguson vs. Justin Gaethje Going Down at UFC 249
Ferguson is famous for his eccentricities both inside and outside the ring. He previously held the interim lightweight title after defeating Kevin Lee. Ferguson is on a twelve-fight win streak, tying for the longest active streak in the UFC. This included two former lightweight champions, Rafael dos Anjos and Anthony Pettis. Ferguson is currently the number one ranked contender in the 155-pound division.
Gaethje is the former WSOF lightweight champion. After conceding bitter losses to Eddie Alvarez and Dustin Poirier in back-to-back wars, he went on a three-fight knockout streak. James Vick, Edson Barboza and Donald Cerrone fell in succession to “Highlight”. Gaethje is of particular interest to fans because he is considered a difficult matchup for the undefeated lightweight champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov. The 31-year-old is currently the number four ranked contender at lightweight.
Though both Ferguson and Gaethje are fan favourites with exciting fighting styles, many fans will be disappointed at this turn of events. This marks the fifth time the match between Nurmagomedov and Ferguson has fallen through. Nonetheless, the UFC seems determined to make sure that 249 will go ahead, with or without Nurmagomedov. However, Ferguson vs. Gaethje is unlikely to be a fight to forget. Between the two of them, they have nine ‘Fight of the Night’ bonuses in the UFC.
The UFC has not announced where the Ferguson vs. Gaethje fight will take place. The UFC’s home state of Nevada has banned events, as have many other states in the U.S. White’s post only said that it would take place “somewhere on EARTH!!!”.
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