The curse of the MMA Gods strikes Tony Ferguson. Right now it looks like we will never see ‘El Cucuy’ fight Khabib Nurmagamedov because his 12-fight win streak is at an end. It was a brutal, harrowing defeat to ‘The Highlight’ Justin Gaethje, in the main event of UFC 249.
Gaethje replaced lightweight champion Khabib when the Russian went back to his home country. Ferguson has trained since November for that fight so it was a stark change of style. But he still gamely took the fight for the interim lightweight title. He was also even the favorite going into this one.
However, Gaethje put on the performance of his career. He proceeded to beat down Ferguson, who had no answers for ‘The Highlight’s’ power and precision. Now Gaethje moves forward with a likely clash against Khabib in the Fall. Unless the UFC decides to try and get him to take on Conor McGregor before this. Now wouldn’t that be interesting?
— UFC (@ufc) May 10, 2020
Gaethje did to Ferguson what Ferguson does to everybody else. By the end of this fight, ‘El Cucuy’ had a massive swelling under one eye and a deep gash by another. In short, he just couldn’t cope with the accuracy of Gaethje’s right hand. It seemed to find the mark every time he threw it. Add in a vicious left hook and his leg kicks, and Gaethje put on a striking masterclass.
Ferguson did have his moments. At the end of round two, he staggered Gaethje right at the bell. Occasionally he was able to put a couple of shots together but the tidiness of Gaethje’s striking kept him at range. To sum up, he wasn’t able to use his vicious elbows or the famous 10th Planet BJJ he’s an expert in.
In the end, it was a relief when Herb Dean stopped the fight. Ferguson was enraged because he was still on his feet but he was staggered and beat up. How he took some of those shots, we just don’t know. The fight goes down as a TKO victory for Gaethje who looked sublime.
Ferguson hung in there but Justin Gaethje dominates the main event fight and earns the TKO
— Sideline Sports (@sportsideline) May 10, 2020
Now Gaethje is almost certain to get a title shot against Khabib Nurmagamedov. He even threw his new belt aside because he wants to wear ‘the real one.’ It will be fascinating to see how he matches up against the Russian fighter. Much is made of Gaethje’s wrestling game but he’s never attempted a takedown in the UFC.
However, his knowledge of wrestling may help him to nullify Khabib. Also, that power is dangerous for everybody. If he connects then you will be trouble. Could he be the man to take out the unbeatable?
?️ "There's no other challenge I want right now. I want to fight him."
— UFC (@ufc) May 10, 2020
As an MMA fan, you have to feel sad that we probably won’t ever see Ferguson v Khabib. Take nothing away from Gaethje’s performance – it was phenomenal. But at 37, Ferguson has a long road back to the top. It’s hard to see him getting a title shot before Gaethje and Conor McGregor.
Time is not on his side. This goes down with GSP v Anderson Silva and Dominick Cruz v Jose Aldo as one of the great match-ups we never saw.