Tony Ferguson’s top 5 fights
There’s little doubting that Tony Ferguson is one of the best fighters the UFC has to offer. The former interim Lightweight Champion looks set to regain the temporary title when he takes on Justin Gaethje at UFC 249. Many were hoping for the showdown between El Cucuy and current reigning Lightweight Champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov, but due to the coronavirus outbreak and subsequent travel restrictions, Khabib is on lockdown in his native Russia.
The latest Tony Ferguson vs. Justin Gaethje betting odds are in Ferguson’s favour and it’s no surprise when you consider his record. Ferguson last lost a bout in 2012, and in the subsequent years has won 12 on the bounce – a UFC record. Ahead of the event on May 9th, let’s take a look back through the archives at some of Ferguson’s greatest performances which showcase why he’s not only the favourite at UFC 249, but also one of the best MMA fighters in the business.
- A debut to remember
Ferguson made his UFC debut back in June 2011, after applying for The Ultimate Fighter 13. Having previously held the PureCombat Welterweight Championship and holding a career record of 10-2, he finally made the reality show, after several applications. Ferguson was the third pick for Team Lesnar. He made the Finale, after defeating all three opponents by knockout, and faced Ramsey Nijem in the final. He defeated his opponent by first round knockout and went on to secure a UFC contract as well as a Knockout of the Night bonus. And as they say, the rest is history…
- A reputation on the rise
By the time Ferguson took on Josh Thomson, his UFC record stood at 8-1 and many thought he’d be a title contender. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be at this stage – despite the fact he had finished opponents in six of those bouts, winning three post-fight bonuses along the way. He went on to win by decision, but Ferguson had been on the offensive most of the fight, earning a Performance of the Night bonus. In fact, credit has to go to Thomson for staying on his feet, after hitting the deck multiple times, and with several punches landing straight to his head. El Cucuy had put in a good performance against another highly-rated lightweight contender, and there was no doubt that his rise to the top would come.
- Tough test against former champion
In November 2016, Ferguson took on former Lightweight Champion Rafael Dos Anjos. The Brazilian had lost his title in his last bout against Eddie Alvarez and many saw RDA as Ferguson’s toughest opponent to date. Both lightweights were awarded a Fight of the Night bonus for their performance – a dogged battle which lasted the full five rounds. RDA started the stronger of the two, but it wasn’t long before El Cucuy came into his stride and put in a performance that fans had come to expect, pummelling his opponent in the fifth and final round. Despite being born in California, Ferguson has Mexican heritage, and as he left the Octagon in the Arena Ciudad de México in Mexico City, he shouted “Viva Mexico”. Once again, he was scheduled to take on Khabib – but unfortunately, it didn’t materialise.
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- Interim UFC Lightweight Champion
It was at UFC 216 in October 2018 that Ferguson took on Kevin Lee for the interim belt, as the main event. At this point, El Cucuy’s UFC record was 12-1 and his opponent’s was 9-2. It’s fair to say that Ferguson took a while to come to terms with Lee’s style, who has a background in wrestling. It wasn’t plain sailing, with the tempo of the fight slowing down, as both men grappled and hit the canvas several times. But Ferguson delivered the finish in the third round – a triangle choke submission putting an end to Lee’s five-match unbeaten run, which had spanned two years. For Ferguson, the winning streak continued and another bout with Khabib had been scheduled. But for a fourth time, injuries prevented the two from meeting in the Octagon.
- That winning feeling
And so, we fast-forward to Ferguson’s latest result. Another victory, and one that has seen him rack up 12 consecutive wins, a UFC record. After beating Anthony Pettis at UFC 229, he faced Donald Cerrone – considered a veteran of the sport and one of the most respected men in the UFC. Cerrone was on a three-match winning streak, but Ferguson put an end to that – and the Cowboy has since failed to win in the Octagon. The two met last June at UFC 238 and it was a doctor’s stoppage that saw Ferguson victorious by TKO. Another Fight of the Night bonus and another crack at facing Lightweight Champion Khabib – but for a fifth time, the cursed clash hasn’t happened. Of course, if Ferguson can regain the interim title, fans will be hoping he eventually gets a crack at the Russian.