The MMA world was turned upside down tonight when Leon Edwards knocked out Kamaru Usman at UFC 278 to win the welterweight title. Dana White took to the podium at the post-fight press conference and announced a surprising booking in the welterweight division.
White announced that former interim lightweight champion Tony Ferguson (25-7) will be moving up to welterweight to take on Li Jingliang (19-7) at UFC 279. The fight will be Ferguson’s first fight at welterweight since he won The Ultimate Fighter back in 2011.
Meeting him will be The Leech, Li Jingliang. Li just had a huge performance back at UFC on ABC 3 when he took on Muslim Salikhov. After a back-and-forth fight, Li was able to secure the second round knockout. It was Li’s second big knockout in his last three fights.
Going back to June of 2018, Li is 5-2 in his last seven fights. His two losses came against Khamzat Chimaev and Neil Magny.
UFC 279 adds a solid contest
The UFC was looking for star power to add to the card in a couple of weeks due to the card not selling incredibly well. When they needed a fun fight, they called a guy who never disappoints in “El Cucuy” Tony Ferguson.
For years, Ferguson was the boogey man of the UFC’s lightweight division. He climbed to the top of the mountain by becoming the interim champion. However, due to a number of unfortunate situations from injuries to a global pandemic, Ferguson never got a crack at the undisputed title.
Ferguson lost his image when he lost to Justin Gaethje in 2020 and that loss started a string of defeats for El Cucuy. Ferguson has now lost four fights in a row most recently at UFC 274. He was knocked out by Michael Chandler, however, prior to the knockout, he looked better than he had in a long time.
Ferguson has rededicated himself to the sport and he still seems confident even after the loss to Chandler. This is a big step up for Ferguson in a must-win fight.