33-Year-Old UFC Lightweight 24-3-0
January 17, 2018 Tony Ferguson News
RotoWire Fantasy Analysis
Ferguson (elbow) will take on Khabib Nurmagomedov in a lightweight championship fight on April 7 at UFC 223 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, Alexander K. Lee of MMAFighting.com reports.
At this point, there has been no word as to whether the bout will be for Ferguson's interim lightweight belt, or if Conor McGregor will be stripped of his title, but that is sure to be decided in due time. Ferguson claimed the interim title in October by besting Kevin Lee via submission (triangle choke) at UFC 216 in Las Vegas in early October. "El Cucuy" did undergo elbow surgery in the first week of December, but should be fully healed and operational well before this upcoming fight. Ferguson was expected to take on Nurmagomedov this past spring, but the latter failed to receive proper medical clearance, and the bout fell by the wayside after "The Eagle" wound up being hospitalized due to weight cut issues. There were also two previous occasions when talks regarding these two heated up, but injuries on each side prevented anything from coming to fruition. But now we will finally see them face off in the Octagon, as Nurmagomedov will bring his perfect 25-0 professional record up against Ferguson's 23-3 mark.
Tony Ferguson: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
Fantasy AnalysisThe current interim UFC Lightweight Champion will be out for the foreseeable future. Although there hasn't been a clear timetable for his recovery, there should be a better sense of a return date by the time the new year rolls around. In his previous fight, Ferguson defeated Kevin Lee via submission (triangle choke) at UFC 216 in Las Vegas in early October.
Fantasy AnalysisIt was a typical Ferguson fight. He started slow and there were moments of concern, but he ultimately emerged victorious for the tenth consecutive fight. Ferguson stated in his post-fight interview with Joe Rogan that his goal was to allow Lee to tire himself out and then clamp on a submission. It's anyone's guess how true that is, but that's exactly how it played out. Common sense would tell you that the interim champion (Ferguson) would now fight the regular champion (Conor McGregor), but the UFC doesn't always book fights in sensible fashion. Then there's the entire situation surrounding Khabib Nurmagomedov. All that is a story for another day. For now, Ferguson is the proud holder of UFC gold.
Fantasy AnalysisFerguson had once been scheduled to fight top contender Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 209, but that fight was scrapped after weight cutting issues sent Nurmagomedov to the hospital the day before the fight. Rather than try to re-book this fight for the fourth time, UFC brass instead opted to give Ferguson a red-hot Kevin Lee. Though Lee is coming off an impressive technical submission victory over Michael Chiesa, look for the more experienced Ferguson to enter as a heavy betting favorite. Ferguson has a significant edge in the striking department, with an average of 5.23 significant strikes landed per minute in the UFC. Though Ferguson is unlikely to use much offensive wrestling, his takedown defense is a commendable 81 percent, so he should be able to negate much of that part of Lee's game. The winner will presumably take on current lightweight champion Conor McGregor upon his return to the UFC.
Fantasy AnalysisTalks may be underway, but there are several hurdles to clear in order for Ferguson to get back on the card. First, the promotion will need to find a willing opponent that is able to make weight on short notice. Next, the Nevada Athletic Commission will have to sanction the fight. Lastly, and potentially one of the biggest obstacles, is that Ferguson will have to agree to fight somebody he hasn't prepared for on less than 48 hours notice. As far as an opponent goes, indications are that Michael Johnson is the willing frontrunner, but it remains to be seen if there's enough time to get this bout cleared. Nate Diaz chatter has also emerged, though this was quickly ruled out due to Diaz being unable to make the weight.
Fantasy AnalysisWith the fight less than 36 hours away, there simply won't be enough time to fight a replacement opponent for Ferguson. The lightweight contender still made weight for the fight, however, so Ferguson will receive his show money. Whether Ferguson's management will look to reschedule the fight, or pursue a new opponent, remains to be seen.
Fantasy AnalysisFerguson cemented his case for a title shot with a unanimous-decision victory over Rafael Dos Anjos on Nov. 5, representing his ninth consecutive victory in the UFC. With current champion Conor McGregor set to take some time off, the next logical fight for Ferguson would have been Nurmagomedov, who defeated Michael Johnson in dominant fashion at UFC 205. With Ferguson and the UFC at an apparent standstill, it could mean that Nurmagomedov could get the next shot at McGregor, once he's ready.
Fantasy AnalysisSimply put, there's nothing else Ferguson can do to earn a shot at the UFC Lightweight Championship. He has now won a ridiculous nine fights in a row, a stunning steak in what is the UFC's deepest division. Ferguson and RDA went back and forth over the first three rounds before Ferguson's cardio took over the fight. He peppered Dos Anjos repeatedly over the final ten minutes, easily getting off first in all striking exchanges, landing multiple combinations. Ferguson ended up throwing an insane 402 total strikes, landing 200 of them. Ferguson's submission skills are amongst the best in the world in any division, if he is able to beat up his opponents on the feet as well - look out. There are other fighters on the roster who can make a case for a lightweight title shot, but no one can ultimately come close to matching the resume that El Cucuy has put together.
Fantasy AnalysisFerguson's win over Lando Vannata in July was ugly, but as has been the case the last eight times he fought, Ferguson came out on top. An elite submission specialist who has proven on multiple occasions that he eat a big punch and keep on ticking, Ferguson is a legitimate top-five fighter in arguably the UFC's deepest division. A win over Dos Anjos will probably earn him a well deserved title shot.
Fantasy AnalysisThis is the definition of a title eliminator. If Ferguson wins, he'll get the next shot at current champion Eddie Alvarez (or whoever holds the belt at the time of the fight). If he comes up short, dos Anjos will get an opportunity to regain his belt. Ferguson has certainly earned the right after winning his last eight bouts, despite the fact that he came dangerously close to getting knocked out July 13 against Lando Vannata. Four of Ferguson's last five bouts have resulted in submission victories, but dos Anjos will represent arguably his toughest grappling test to date.
Fantasy AnalysisIt was far from easy. Ferguson got walloped on multiple occasions in Round 1, but he started to find his footing late in the final frame before seizing control of the fight in Round 2. Since a loss to Michael Johnson in May 2012, Ferguson has reeled off eight-straight wins. There are numerous fighters in the deep lightweight division that think they have a claim to a title shot, but Ferguson is on the short list of fighters who may actually get one. He results the last four-plus years are undeniable and even though he was given all he could handle Wednesday, he still ultimately prevailed, just as he has eight times in a row.
Fantasy AnalysisFerguson was originally scheduled to face Michael Chiesa in the main event of that card, but Chiesa had to withdraw from the fight due to a back injury. Instead, Ferguson will draw an 8-0 opponent in Vannata that trains at Jackson-Wink MMA. Ferguson should enter this bout as a heavy favorite, as he has a seven-fight winning streak that features several respectable victories. However, he will no longer fight in the main event, as a bout between Michael McDonald and John Lineker will be moved to that spot.
Fantasy AnalysisWith the UFC putting on three events in the week just before this one, it will surely be tough to find a new opponent for Ferguson, as most of the top lightweights are already fighting the week before, or are scheduled to fight in the following months. They could elect to scrap the bout entirely, but that would leave a relatively shallow card for UFC fans in Sioux Falls. Look for the promotion to announce a decision in the coming days.
Fantasy AnalysisFerguson had to withdraw from his last scheduled bout against Khabib Nurmagomedox due to a chest injury, but had planned to return to the octagon in late-May. That should give him plenty of time to prepare for Chiesa, a submission specialist that is on a three-fight winning streak. Although Ferguson's own submission skills are formidable, he may be best-suited to keep the fight standing up, where he should have an better advantage in the striking game. If Ferguson can come out on top to earn his eighth straight victory, he should be right back in the lightweight title picture.
Fantasy AnalysisFerguson recently dropped out of an upcoming UFC on FOX event in which he had been scheduled to take on Khabib Nurmagomedov in what was essentially a lightweight title eliminator. At the time, the exact reason had not been disclosed, though Ferguson revealed later in the week that his withdrawal was due to blood/fluid in his lungs. Although it sounds scary, Ferguson's manager dismissed the notion that this would be a long-term concern, and is hopeful that Nurmagomedov will wait until Ferguson is ready. Nurmagomedov has been in talks with UFC brass about potentially having Donald Cerrone replace Ferguson in the upcoming event, but nothing concrete has been set just yet. Regardless of the outcome of that series of events, look for Ferguson to draw a top-five lightweight in his next bout.
Fantasy AnalysisThe exact details of Ferguson's injury were not disclosed, so estimating a potential timetable for a return is difficult at this time. With the fight scheduled for just 11 days after the announcement, UFC brass was unable to find a replacement for the lightweight matchup, and has decided to move the Rashad Evans/Glover Teixeira light heavyweight bout for the main event. Ferguson has been riding a seven-fight winning streak of late, so it's quite the momentum killer for the lightweight contender.
Fantasy AnalysisIt's an odd matchup to say the least. Apparently Ferguson badly wanted to fight before his child is born in March and the two most logical opponents for him, Khabib Nurmagomedov (knee) and Eddie Alvarez (foot), are both rehabbing injuries and won't be ready to fight until April. Ferguson was committed to fighting and is accepting a fight against a lower ranked opponent in order to get back into the octagon. A winner of seven fights in a row and seemingly on the verge of a title shot, Ferguson is putting a lot on the line against Johnson.
Fantasy AnalysisIt was as entertaining as fight as you'll ever see for as long as it lasted. Ferguson lost a point early on for an illegal kick to a downed opponent, but it ended up not hurting him. Both fighters landed a ton of brutal shots on the feet and both men were drenched in blood by the time it was over. Ferguson did a beautiful job of avoiding a couple of big kicks by Barboza and a terrific transition on the ground allowed him to lock in the fight-ending choke. It was Ferguson's seventh win in a row. "El Cucuy" is the rare fighter who has gotten noticeably better as he has gotten older and gained more experience. He's a dark horse to fight for the lightweight title in 2016.
Fantasy AnalysisFerguson was due to be a +260 underdog against his original opponent Khabib Nurmagomedov, but the odds swung in "El Cucuy's" favor after Khabib had to withdraw due to an injury and Barboza replaced him. A winner of six fights in a row and 12 of his last 13, Ferguson is one of the hottest fighters in all of MMA. His most recent outing was a dominant unanimous decision win over the since-departed Josh Thomson in July. Currently ranked as the #7 lightweight by UFC.com, Ferguson should five himself in the top-five if he can manage to get by Barboza.
Fantasy AnalysisThe UFC seems intent on trying to keep Ferguson on the card. Ferguson has won six fights in a row, including a dominant unanimous decision win over the since departed Josh Thomson in his last fight back in July. "El Cucuy" was going to be a +260 underdog for the Nurmagomedov fight, but he should be a healthy favorite over Barboza when the odds are updated.
Fantasy AnalysisFerguson destroyed the departing Josh Thomson in his last fight in mid-July. It is all starting to come together for "El Cucuy". He has won six fights in a row and is 9-1 in his UFC career. Still, the undefeated Nurmagomedov will be his toughest challenge to date.
Fantasy AnalysisFerguson defeated Josh Thomson at UFC Fight Night 71 last Wednesday, picking up the unanimous decision victory in convincing fashion. He took a couple shots early in the bout, however, and will need to have a potential right orbital fracture cleared by a physician if he plans on entering the octagon before the 180-day window expires. Ferguson is riding a six-fight winning streak, and should soon be in the conversation of potential lightweight title contenders.
Fantasy AnalysisThe only reason that Ferguson didn't get the stoppage is because Thomson is as tough as nails. After a fairly even first round, Ferguson absolutely destroyed the former Strikeforce champion over the final 10 minutes. Whether is was kicks, punches, elbows or anything in between, it all was landing for "El Cucuy". Ferguson has won six in a row and he improves to 9-1 in the UFC. He has all the makings of a top-five lightweight and future title contender.