Justin Gaethje has a problem with his nose, and he’s hoping his UFC 249 opponent Tony Ferguson will fix it.
On May 9, the postponed UFC 249 will finally take place despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. In the main event, Gaethje will take on the number one ranked lightweight, Ferguson.
Gaethje earned the nickname “highlight” due to his highlight-reel performances. In his last three bouts, the 31-year old finished Donald Cerrone, Edson Barboza and James Vick by first-round TKO.
Before punching his MMA career began, Gaethje began his sporting journey in wrestling. He began at just four years old and was an NCAA Division I wrestler and two-time state champion. In his wrestling days, Gaethje broke his nose. He is hoping he can bypass medical bills by letting Ferguson smash it back into place in their UFC 249 bout.
“I need my nose broken … I haven’t been able to breathe through my nose for 12 years because of wrestling, so hopefully one of those elbows cracks my nose, the UFC pays for that s***, and it’s an exciting a** fight,” Gaethje said during a UFC 249 conference call.
The UFC covers medical bills for injuries incurred during their athlete’s official fights. Ferguson, who was also on call, laughed at the comment. “I love it – ‘insurance claim!’” He responded.
Gaethje showed major respect to “El Cucuy” (who is regarded as the lightweight division’s “boogeyman”) and hopes their fight will inspire fans during these testing times.
“I recognise he gives max effort,” Gaethje said. “The tenacity that he brings to the cage … I’m looking forward to the storm.
“I know that, for one, we get to put pay cheques in our own pocket, and we get to put a pay cheque in every UFC employee’s pocket that’s gonna work this event. We get to inspire people to not give up right now.
“For me, before I was fighting him and after I fight him, he’s the epitome of an athlete. He loves violence. He loves carnage. And this is a recipe for disaster.”
Tony Ferguson reciprocated the respect but admitted that he doesn’t enjoy hurting people.
“He’s got a lot of heart,” he said.
“I really don’t like hurting people,” he added “I just go in there, do my thing, they unfortunately get f**ked up. My bad, dude.”
Who do you think will win when Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje collide this weekend?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 5/6/2020.