Tony Ferguson is living up to his catchphrase “champ sh*t only” as he continues his preparations for his now-canceled fight at UFC 249 by finishing off his weight cut.
Ferguson was originally set to face Khabib Nurmagomedov in the main event of the event at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center this Saturday night (April 18), but the COVID-19 outbreak forced those plans to change.
The event was then due to be moved to another location – believed at the time to be Abu Dhabi – but tightened travel restrictions scuppered those plans and led the UFC and Dana White to reassess the landscape.
Eventually, the UFC struck a deal with the Tachi Palace Casino near Fresno, California, which sits on tribal land and is therefore able to operate outside of regular state laws. However, following calls from top-level executives from both ESPN and the broadcaster’s parent company Disney, the UFC eventually stood down their plans.
During that time, Khabib ended up stranded in Russia and unable to travel, but Ferguson gamely remained on the card, in the main event slot. Once Khabib’s non-involvement was confirmed, “El Cucuy” was immediately booked to face fellow American Justin Gaethje in an interim title fight.
And, even though that fight has since been put on ice while the UFC rejigs its schedule, Ferguson has continued to stay in laser-focused fight mode, and has even continued with his preparations as if he was still fighting on Saturday night.
“Bladez?x?Shadez” Day We Found Out #ufc249 Was Postponed ?⚾️ # Xeroed?In # It’s A TUF Thing ? -CSO- ????? ???
On Thursday night he shared a photo of him standing on a bathroom scale, which read 163 pounds, just eight pounds over the official lightweight title limit. It showed that he is STILL cutting weight and is clearly determined to hit 155 pounds and make a point to the rest of the division.
“Almost?There” @perfecting_athletes Thanks Fam For Looking After My Weight?Cut ?? -CSO- Time To Recover @sidekicktool #Varsity?Mentality ? ????? @espnmma @ufc
Ferguson jointly holds the longest active win streak in the UFC’s lightweight division, with 12 consecutive wins inside the octagon, and his clash with Khabib remains one of the most eagerly-anticipated fights in UFC history.
“Tiramisu?Time” You Know What Day It Is Crew, # Tiramisu?Tuesday Compliments Of Good Ol’e Fathead ??? ? Still Cutting Weight For Friday #ufc249 Wanted To Give Ya Something Sweet & Neat ? I’ll Save Mine For After Weigh In’s ? @realfreddieprinze Thanks Hermano For The Recipe ?? -CSO-?????? # KeepItJollyFoos
The rollercoaster story of their ill-fated matchup has seen the pair booked to face each other on no less than FIVE separate occasions, with a host of factors, including illness, injury, a dangerous weight cut and even a torn knee caused by a stray cable on the FOX Sports set forcing the bout to be canceled.
All signs were positive heading into their fifth meeting, but then the coronavirus struck, bringing the entire sporting world to a standstill, and now the fight has been scrapped yet again.
It’s a fight both men have been vocal about wanting, and needing, for their respective legacies, and it’s a fight that the fans are now desperate to see.
Ferguson’s next test looks set to be against Gaethje, however, with the UFC planning to hold their interim title fight at an event on May 9, but if Ferguson extends his incredible winning run to 13, talk of that elusive fight with Khabib will start up once again.
Then, after everything that has happened during the course of their rivalry, the fight between Ferguson and Khabib will become the biggest fight the UFC could possibly make, and one that will, when it does eventually happen, deliver a huge feelgood moment for the UFC and the millions of fans who have waited patiently for their dream lightweight fight to finally take place.