Tony Ferguson Offered Fight With Justin Gaethje At UFC 249
By Ross Markey
It appears Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Tony Ferguson is a non-runner – for a staggering fifth time. Reigning lightweight champion, Nurmagomedov, is currently stranded in Russia after the country was issued a nationwide lockdown due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Nurmagomedv was scheduled to headline UFC 249 on April 18th. against Ferguson – but due to travel restrictions, Ferguson has now been offered a clash with fellow high-flying contender, Justin Gaethje. News of the tentative pairing was initially reported by ESPN reporter, Ariel Helwani.
While the matchup between Ferguson and Gaethje isn’t signed, sealed, and delivered just yet, the fact that the promotion has juggled Gaethje as a possible replacement – likely puts the complete kibosh on a pairing of Khabib and Ferguson, yet again.
Another interesting aspect of this potential booking is the implications the clash will have the targeted July pairing of former two-weight world champion, Conor McGregor, and Gaethje. As reported back in February, the organisation were expecting a clash between the two to finally take place this summer. These latest developments also put the brakes on that tie.
Arizonian wrestler come striker, Gaethje, has experienced a huge turn of fortunes in his last three outings. The former WSOF lightweight best has evolved into a very competent, and poised counter striker. The 31-year-old has managed to claim the #4 rank at lightweight – via knockouts of James Vick, Edson Barboza, and Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone. As of yet, it’s unknown if an interim title will be introduced for the potential pairing.
Photo Credit: Hans Gutknecht – Digital First Media