It’s official. Justin Gaethje will fight Tony Ferguson for the interim lightweight title in the main event of UFC 249 on April 18.
Fighting a juggernaut like Ferguson on less than two weeks’ notice amid a pandemic when neither adequate training nor the fight itself can be guaranteed is certainly a risky move.
Gaethje, never one to hide his feelings, is admittedly terrified by the whole ordeal. But he likes it.
— Justin Gaethje 🇺🇸 (@Justin_Gaethje) April 6, 2020
“#forthepeople I’m terrified and I fucken love it. #ufc” – Justin Gaethje on Twitter.
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 Dagestan. 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 short notice.
At present, it’s not clear where in the world this Ferguson vs. Gaethje fight will go down. UFC 249 was originally expected to go down in Brooklyn, New York. Yet this became an impossibility weeks ago, when the state effectively shut down to combat the spread of the coronavirus.
While the location of the card is still a unknown, a Monday morning 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 Ferguson vs. Gaethje fight will undoubtedly go down in an empty venue, with only essential personnel on the scene.
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 think Justin Gaethje will beat Tony Ferguson at UFC 249?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 4/6/2020.