UFC 249 And How It Affects Tony Ferguson's Career From Here
If you watched UFC 249 on Saturday, May 9th, you would've seen one of the most stacked cards that 2020 will see. From Cowboy Cerrone vs Showtime Pettis on the prelims, to Francis Ngannou knocking out Jairzinho Rozenstruik in literally 20 seconds, there was a lot of great action that night. While two title fights took place that night, I want to take a second to focus on the interim lightweight championship fight between Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje, who became "And New".
One thing I want to start with is why in the world did El Cucuy continue to cut weight for his bout with Khabib Nurmagomedov after the fight was canceled. This was brought up to both Ferguson and Gaethje and even Gaethje admitted that if he did something like that, it would have affected his next fight too, especially when it was only weeks later.
On top of this, Tony has been scheduled to fight Khabib 5 times over the past few years, yet it's never happened yet. Both fighters have each pulled out twice due to injury and the issue this time around was because of a travel ban due to COVID-19. Fans around the UFC have been waiting for this fight for a long time as they wondered if Tony could ever capture undisputed UFC gold. Now, we don't know if El Cucuy will ever get his shot.
Out of the gate, Ferguson did not look like himself. Outside of a few good shots, including an uppercut that dropped Gaethje in the closing seconds of the second round, Ferguson looked slow, sloppy, and most of all, not himself. From that point on, Justin Gaethje brought the fight to Tony's face and to Tony's credit, he ate a lot of what Gaethje threw at him.
The fight was stopped after Ferguson looked too dazed to continue in the 5th round as Justin Gaethje now has an almost guaranteed undisputed title shot vs Khabib, which will probably take place in the late summer. It appears that after Gaethje's victory, Khabib vs Tony will never actually get to happen, meaning Tony will never get a shot for the real Lightweight belt.
I have to give props to Justin Gaethje, as Tony was on a 12 fight unbeaten streak, spanning over the last several years. He will certainly be a great matchup with Khabib and you can bet that those two will put on an absolute show.
Unfortunately, Tony's career looks to be slowly coming to a close, as you have to assume that all the head trauma over the years is starting to take a toll on El Cucuy. In addition, the man is 36 years old and has been fighting professionally since 2008. You have to think that if Tony didn't take this fight, he might be scheduling another bout with Khabib for when he is able to leave Russia.