Tony Ferguson v ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone is OFFICIAL

By Dazzler

One of the Most Exciting Lightweight Match-Ups in Recent History Has Been Booked With the News Confirmed That Donald Cerrone Will Take on Former UFC Interim Lightweight Champion Tony Ferguson… 

Wow, this came out of the blue. Tony Ferguson and Donald Cerrone are set to go head-to-head at UFC 238. They’re two of the most popular and recognizable fighters on the roster and this is definitely a match-up that will make the fans happy. A win for either man should realistically confirm their status as the next number one contender.

Cerrone is just coming off the back of a victory over Al Iaquinta in Ottawa. The veteran has been on a golden streak of late, crushing Alexander Hernandez and dissecting ‘Ragin Al’ in two of the best performances of his career. Now he’s set to make a final surge towards a title shot.

Meanwhile, Ferguson is a former interim champion. Insanely, he’s riding an 11-fight winning streak – the longest active streak within the confines of the UFC lightweight division – but has yet to get a genuine title shot. Beating Cerrone will surely put him next in line?

Donald Cerrone takes on Alexander Hernandez. Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports.

Warriors

Respect has to be given to both of these men for taking this fight. They are both putting it all on the line here. Ferguson can feel like he is taking a bigger risk here because beating Cerrone will only solidify his status as number one contender and there is still no guarantee he’ll get that shot against the champion.

Meanwhile, Cerrone needs to earn that final scalp if he wants to fight for the belt. He did call out Conor McGregor, but he hasn’t the patience for the Irishman’s nonsense and so took arguably the tougher fight against Ferguson on short notice. The turnaround between the Iaquinta and Ferguson fights will be just 35 days. Remarkably he once fought Benson Henderson 15 days after beating Myles Jury. ‘Cowboy’ is a warrior.

Tony Ferguson out strikes former lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos in a dominant performance. Etzel Espinosa-USA TODAY Sports.

Ramifications

This has massive ramifications for the title picture. If these two are fighting it out for the number one contender spot, and Dustin Poirier will fight Khabib, where does that leave Conor McGregor? Well, an interesting detail has emerged: Nate Diaz is back in the USADA testing pool.

If we play a bit of MMA math, that could give Poirier and Khabib the chance to unite the belts and then defend against the winner of Cowboy v Ferguson. Then if – and it’s a big if –  a deal can be done with Diaz and McGregor, the winner of that fight would take on the champion.

Jul 15, 2015; San Diego, CA, USA; Josh Thomson (red) fights Tony Ferguson (blue) during UFC Fight Night at Valley View Casino Center. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports.

Exciting Times

Lightweight is definitely one of the most stacked and exciting divisions in the UFC. It’s great to see some movement at the top. Khabib’s absence due to suspension and his decision to take a hiatus haven’t really affected it too much, fortunately. Even if he was ready to come back, he’d probably still be on leave because of Ramadan.

Cerrone v Ferguson will be an awesome fight. They’re both warriors and stylistically it should be amazing. We’ve got two problems with it though. The first is that it’s only going to be three rounds, as Henry Cejudo takes on Marlon Moraes for the vacant bantamweight title in the main event.

The second is that we don’t want either of these two guys to lose. They’ve both come so far and worked so hard that it would be a tough break to see them get cast adrift right now. MMA is a cruel sport.