Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The lightweight division took another blow today…

Tony Ferguson won the UFC interim lightweight championship by defeating Kevin Lee at UFC 216. The bout from October seemed to be a step towards normalcy for a division which badly needed it. Now it seems we are even farther away from crowning an undisputed champion at 155lbs.

Yesterday, Ferguson underwent elbow surgery and there is currently no timetable for his return. Details regarding the severity of the injury are not currently available.

Dana White and the UFC had been hoping to unify the lightweight titles at UFC 219 but those plans changed after Conor jumped the cage at Bellator 187.

Dana White had this to say in regards to a future Ferguson vs. Conor title unification belt:

“Tony’s the interim champion, Conor’s the champion, that’s the fight that makes sense. It’s the fight that has to happen, it doesn’t ‘make sense,’ it’s the fight that has to happen.”

Etzel Espinosa-USA TODAY Sports

Tony Ferguson vs. Conor McGregor

It is possible that had a bout with Conor materialized for UFC 219 that Ferguson would not have chosen to have the surgery. Now with Conor seemingly not in the mix, it makes sense for El Cucoy to rehab any nagging injuries he may have.

Conor, on the other hand, is not sounding like someone who is out of the mix regardless of what Dana is saying. He had this to say recently in regards to his challengers at 155lbs.

“At this stage of my career, as it has been for the majority of my UFC career, potential opponents must lobby for fights with me,”

“We could see Conor McGregor anywhere. I run the fight game, the fashion game, the whiskey game, or whatever the next business endeavor might be.”

Etzel Espinosa-USA TODAY Sports

Tony Ferguson’s UFC Career

Tony Ferguson has won 10 straight fights, including his win over Kevin Lee at UFC 216. His last loss came on May 5th, 2012 to Michael Johnson. He’s never been finished as a professional.

A 10-fight win streak would have any fighter feeling confident. This is what Ferguson had to say in October regarding how his skills match up against Conor’s.

“The man wants to call himself a God but he bleeds and I can expose him,” he said. “My skills are better.”

“Conor McGregor said he was looking forward to watching this fight but he hasn’t said nothing,”

“This dude didn’t say s***. He didn’t even say ‘good fight’ on Twitter. The boy is scared. He’s running.”

Tony Ferguson Injury and the Lightweight Division

Ferguson’s injury creates an interesting predicament in the lightweight division. If neither Conor nor Ferguson will be fighting soon, a new interim champion may have to be crowned.

Creating another interim belt at 155lbs is problematic, however. For it to occur either Conor or Ferguson would have to be stripped first and smart money says it’ll be Conor who has his title taken if that is the case.

Khabib Nurmagomedov faces Edson Barboza at UFC 219 in a fight which must now be considered a title-eliminator. Eddie Alvarez’s impressive victory over Justin Gaethje at UFC 218 should move him back into the title picture as well.

Previous articleConor McGregor Confirms 2018 Return But Maybe Not With The UFC
Next articleBREAKING: Nate Diaz Leaving The UFC For Another Sport
Ian is a MMA writer based out of Toronto, ON Canada. An avid mixed martial arts enthusiast and passionate fan since he was born, Ian has been writing about mixed martial arts for over 5 years.