UFC 296 just continues to get more and more stacked. Earlier today, we learned of a potential fight between Stephen Thompson and Shavkat Rakhmonov. Well, Dana White took to X this evening and announced that the fight between those two welterweights was done. White also announced another big time matchup for the December 16th card.
It was announced that surging superstar contender Paddy “The Baddy” Pimblett (20-3) will get his toughest test to date in former interim champion Tony “El Cucuy” Ferguson (25-9). This will be Pimblett’s first fight since the final PPV of the year last year as he’s been out this year with injuries.
Pimblett was a Cage Warriors champion and had a ton of hype behind him when he signed with the UFC in 2021. He won his first three fights by finish and the hype train was in full effect. Then, he fought Jared Gordon at UFC 282. Most people, including myself, believe that Gordon won the fight. However, the judges gave the fight to Pimblett. Now, he’ll have the opportunity to silence the critics while adding a big name to his resume.
Tony Ferguson needs a win in the worst way. The former interim champion was once the true boogeyman of the lightweight division having gone unbeaten from 2013 – 2019. However, since the start of 2020, Ferguson hasn’t won a fight and it’s not from a lack of competition.
Ferguson has fought six times and he’s lost every fight. Most recently, he fought Bobby Green at UFC 291 in Utah. Ferguson looked really good to start the fight and even dropped Green. However, after an accidental eye poke paused the action, El Cucuy was never the same. Ultimately, Ferguson was choked out in the third round by Green.
This very well might be Ferguson’s last chance with the promotion. I have a hard time believing that they’d keep him around if he loses a seventh straight fight. If he can get back in the win column while derailing the Paddy Pimblett hype train, it’ll be massive for his career.