After UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov pulled out of the highly anticipated fight with Tony Ferguson, fans were wondering if UFC will cancel UFC 249 entirely. However, UFC president Dana White managed to pull together a stacked card even if a highly contagious virus is wreaking havoc around the world. Justin Gaethje will step in at short notice to take on Tony Ferguson for the interim lightweight title on April 18.
The fight will take place at a tribal land in Central California. The venue is Tachi Palace Casino Resort near Lemoore, Calif. This venue is 65 kilometers from the city of Fresno.
Ahead of the fight, Gaethje spoke to ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, where he revealed that he is very excited about this match-up. He said that MMA is defined by match-ups between him and Tony Ferguson.
“Everybody believes in me and I know what I have in front of me,” Gaethje said. “Tony Ferguson lives in a dark place, he is going to take me to a dark place. MMA is defined by a fight like me and Tony Ferguson.”
Justin Gaethje: Tony Ferguson to Face ’18 to 19 Minutes of Pure Hell’
Gaethje who has won three of his last fights via first-round TKO hasn’t promoted accepting fights on short notice. He said that he was reluctant about fighting Tony Ferguson on short notice but ultimately decided to accept the fight. He said that he has plans to unleash “18 to 19 minutes of pure hell” against Tony Ferguson on April 18.
“When I train for a fight, I really go to a special place every single day. I do not cheat. I wake up with a goal in mind: to be better than yesterday. The more days you can do that in a row, the more prepared you will be.
For me, it’s always that mental warfare. Confidence is huge in there. If you haven’t prepared, then you can’t be confident—or as confident as you should be.” (H/T – ESPN)
UFC 249 Fight Card:
Tony Ferguson vs. Justin Gaethje — interim lightweight title
Jessica Andrade vs. Rose Namajunas — women’s strawweight
Greg Hardy vs. Yorgan De Castro — heavyweight
Vicente Luque vs. Niko Price — welterweight
Jeremy Stephens vs. Calvin Kattar — featherweight
Uriah Hall vs. Ronaldo Souza — middleweight
Alexander Hernandez vs. Omar Morales — lightweight
Marlon Vera vs. Ray Borg — bantamweight
Michael Johnson vs. Khama Worthy — lightweight
Sijara Eubanks vs. Sarah Moras — women’s bantamweight
Ryan Spann vs. Sam Alvey — light heavyweight
Who do you guys think wins in the main event?