Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Tony Ferguson should have happened already. It was one of the best fights mixed marital arts could have gave us.
Instead, UFC 249 in May seemed to put the nail in the coffin. Not only that, but the result of Justin Gaethje vs. Tony Ferguson felt like a knockout blow to Ferguson’s standing as the top contender. Gaethje put on a clinic against Ferguson. It was hard to watch.
After 7 months and a division-changing retirement by Nurmagomedov, Ferguson is back. He’s back to a much different landscape.
Before, Conor McGregor had one foot out. Now, however, he may be fighting for a vacant title. Michael Chandler has emerged as the hot commodity looking to stand out quickly. Gaethje was essentially dominated by Khabib in his title shot.
However, most importantly, a dark horse has risen in the division. Charles Olivera will be the man welcoming Ferguson back. He’s been impressive and is looking to make a statement out of Ferguson, especially in such a stacked division.
There are still names like Islam Makhachev, Dan Hooker, and Rafael Dos Anjos. All of these names are the ones being brought up, yet Ferguson’s was almost forgotten.
It seemed like many thought he was damaged goods, or he was exposed. Ferguson has a point to prove on Saturday night. The lightweight division is changing rapidly after Khabib’s retirement. Ferguson’s name should be amongst the top, but he has to prove that. Great fighters can be forgotten, but one should never believe that “El Cucuy” will go away easy
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