Tony Ferguson will officially battle Justin Gaethje in the main event of UFC 249 on April 18. Both fighters have signed their contracts for the fight. The pair will collide for the interim lightweight title in the card’s main event.
UFC President Dana White announced this news on Twitter on Monday.
The fight is signed and is 100% ON LIVE on ESPN somewhere on EARTH!!!! 😃@TonyFergusonXT vs @Justin_Gaethje is LIVE on @espn+ PPV April 18th for the interim lightweight belt! pic.twitter.com/aH44zg5K30
— danawhite (@danawhite) April 6, 2020
Ferguson was originally expected to battle UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov in the UFC 249 main event. Unfortunately, travel restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic have forced Nurmagomedov to hunker down in his native Russia. This development marked the fifth time a booking between Nurmagomedov and Ferguson has fallen through.
That being said, the UFC has succeeded on its mission to keep Ferguson on the card, having convinced Gaethje—who shares management with Nurmagomedov—to step in on less than two weeks’ notice.
It remains unclear where this Ferguson vs. Gaethje fight will occur. UFC 249 was originally expected to go down in Brooklyn, New York. This became an impossibility weeks ago, however, when the state effectively shut down to combat the spread of the coronavirus.
While the location of the card is still a mystery, a recent report from ESPN suggested that it’s likely to go down somewhere on the West Coast, potentially on tribal land, outside the jurisdiction of state athletic commissions. Whatever the case, this Gaethje vs. Ferguson fight will undoubtedly go down in an empty venue, sans fans.
Ferguson will enter this fight on an absurd, 12-fight win-streak. Gaethje, on the other hand, has won his last three, all by way of knockout.
Do you like the UFC’s choice to risk a rescheduled Tony Ferguson vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov fight by pitting Ferguson against Gaethje? Who do you think will win? Let’s hear it in the comments section, fight fans.
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 4/6/2020.